Showing posts from August, 2012

Not Listening to Critique

I have been a naughty girl.  I realized I have been a bad critiquee.  Yes, I always say please and thank you.  No, I wasn't picking feedback fights.   I just wasn't listening.   (And this after my recent post on the value of critique groups .) It wasn't on purpose.  I swear.  Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye.  (geesh, that's morbid.  Why do kids say that?) Here's what happened.  I was diligently accepting the line edits and other simple suggestions, but I was totally missing the real critique.  "Make more room for the illustrator." "Focus on creating scenes."  "Dialogue will help you avoid telling."  It was there all along... The ridiculous thing is I feared someone was taking the line edits from my critiques and thinking it was ready to go.   Was my subconscious banging its head on a wall trying to alert me? Since my naiveté is tired of being picked on, I blame my process.  Even though a manusc

Back to School: Great Books about Writing for Children

I was moving and grooving, learning about the craft of writing picture books.   I faced obstacles, but I continued to grow just like a character in my stories.   Then my growth kind of stalled and puttered and twittered and finally stopped.  What happened?  Had I reached my peak and discovered I was hopelessly average?  Why wasn't I getting better? And then it hit me:  I wasn't reading a writing book.  I had Summer Break Brain Drain.   It was time to get back to school, so I picked up Writing Picture Book s by Ann Whitford Paul.    If your brain is on summer drugs too, here are favorite insights from other writing books: You Can Write Children's Books by  Tracey E. Dils On reviewing your dummy book: "Is there enough action to illustrate on the spread you've chosen?   Is there too much action to illustrate? Is there a variety of scenes or a variety of different actions of interest throughout the book?  Does every page move the story forward,

Middle Grade Urges

I am a turtle hiding in my shell this week.  Or perhaps I am a caterpillar curled up in a chrysalis about to emerge as a tiger swallowtail butterfly.  I may be metamorphosing. I'm feeling some middle grade urges.  And I don't mean the urge to kiss Tommy Washington under the monkey bars.  I mean the urge to write for middle grade. What is enticing me about middle grade: 1.        I like to read descriptions.  I enjoy curling up with a book as it takes me to a magical place.  I don't see the movie version of books because I get outraged by differences versus my imagination.  I want to describe the situation.  I want to use adjectives. 2.        Picture books really have a co-writer called the illustrator.  I can't figure out how to leave room for the illustrator without feeling like I didn't get to tell the story.   3.        Cool stuff happens in pre teen life.   Kids are really defining themselves.  Their lives are full of drama.  Though it isn'

I Heart Critique Groups

With Writeoncon  in full swing and RedLightGreenLight  starting, I have critique on the brain. I have read a few blogs recently bullying the critique group.  Well, this is a no bullying zone, so let's all be nice.  (But not too nice, or we'll be proliferating one of the complaints about critique groups.)  I was stuck before I found a critique group.  I thought I had edited to perfection.  I knew the stories weren't the best I had ever read, but I didn't know how to take things up a level.  My first critiques felt like Superman came and picked my truck out of the landslide.  I saw my story from a whole new perspective.   And I wasn't stuck anymore. The process catches mistakes you became blind too.  One pointed out my tense was wrong in the first sentence.   I took a drink of water just so I could spray it out of my mouth in shock. How had I missed an obvious error?  Goes to show you need a fresh set of eyes. Critique groups help you let go.  You gav

What Happened When I Interviewed Myself in a Dream

Sometimes I do things backwards.   The other night I was dreaming about being a famous writer.  I was getting myself all riled up wanting to yell, "please let me be a writer!"  I had to do something to relax my brain so I could get some sleep before my two little alarm clocks woke me up at sunrise.  So I interviewed myself.  About an imaginary book.   Interviewing myself about an actual manuscript would have been too normal. My Burst of Inspiration (by ba1969 via Interviewer:  Lauri, how did you come up with the idea for your amazing, believable character? Lauri: Well, it was the 2012 Olympics and I was thinking about the drive the athletes have for their sport.  They forsake so many things in their lives to focus fully on their passion... It was my first interview, so I rambled on incessantly for awhile.   I woke up enough to flip on the light. I grabbed my purple composition book and wrote down my interview answers.   I loved this character my

Where to Look for Inspiration

I was sick this week.  Unfortunately, it was not the sniffly, sneezy kind of sick where you spike a sweet fever and your imagination sparks (literally) a bunch of amazing ideas.  No, this was the other kind.  I can tell you there is no inspiration at the bottom of the toilet.   So where do you look for inspiration? Here's my top five: Nature The other day I pondered what two ducks were talking about at the end of a dock.  Will it grow into a story?  Probably not.  Turns out ducks talk a lot about pooping and fish.  Then the green duck would not shut up about coming over to watch the slides from his last migration which sounded super lame.  Still it got my juices fowling flowing. Hang with Children My daughter and I were remembering grandma sleeping in the toddler bed to try to convince my littlest to sleep without mommy.  I told her grandma would sleep on her head if she had to (which is pure and simple fact).   My kiddo cracked up, because she was se

My Journey in 7 Links

I heard from my friend Kasie  who heard from her friend Darren who heard from his friend Stanford who heard from his sister Kyla that all the cool kids are doing the 7 Link Challenge.   Since I am on a little va-cay this week, this sounded like a splendid idea.  Plus I always wanted to be one of the cool kids.   1.       Your first post  - Committing to Be a Writer reflects on the decision to join SCBWI and the realization children's books weren't written by people jotting down rhyme in a few minutes here and there.  2.       A post you enjoyed writing the most  - Stand Up Comedy for Writers was written on the way to celebrate my 10 year anniversary in Puerto Rico.  Drink service really gets most of the credit for the post.  3.       A post which had a great discussion   In the Middle of the Lake with no Breeze   Rejection letters are like boo boo knees on the playground: when you get one all the writers come running to take care of you. Instead of Band-aids th