Showing posts from October, 2013

Halloween Thank you

I've been meaning to say THANK YOU to Bridget Heos and the Mr. Pig writers at The Little Crooked Cottage  for running a giveaway I recently won.   I received this awesome Mustache Baby prize pack - Signed copy of Mustache Baby by Bridget Heos, mustache playing cards, and mustache binky. I've found sucking on a mustache binky while writing can really drive your creativity, and I'm much less likely to cry during editing. This week it dawned on me the best way to say thank you is via Jack O'Lantern. So I carved a Bad Mustache pumpkin. He came out quite wicked, wouldn't you say? If you have not read Mustache Baby, get your hands on it.  For writers, this book will push you to pun-perfection, as in this example when the baby's mustache turns out to be a bad mustache: Billy's disreputable mustache led him to a life of dreadful crime.  He became: A cat burglar. A cereal criminal.  And a train robber so heartless that he even stole

White Cat's Halloween - a Halloweensie Poem

It's the time of year to gorge small children with sugar and make them pee their pants! Which also means it's time for Susanna Leaonard Hill's Halloweensie contest . The rules: your Halloween story must be 100 words or less and include the words black cat, cackle, and spooky.  Last year I wrote about the poor Jack O' Lantern who couldn't go trick or treating. This year I'm tackling the serious issue of feline bullying. This particular entry was inspired by a " Short & Sweet " Susanna also hosts monthly.  (image by jerca via, with edits) White Cat's Halloween By Lauri C. Meyers, 2013 Violet's sad on Halloween. Teasing black cats treat her mean: "You can't even cause a fright (image by orleil via Wearing fur so milky white!" Violet narrows bright green eyes, "I can too cause children's cries!" Arching back, extended claws Loudly yowl- expect

What Slows Down a Read Aloud

Picture books need to be under 500 words (and that's only when you overshoot 350.)  Pacing and word choice are important. Manuscripts must be read out loud.  I know these things, but a lightbulb clicked on recently: time my read aloud story to ensure it reads like a low word count story. So, I timed myself reading aloud the same books as my last post. Not because I'm lazy, because I'm efficient. Very efficient. Kind of like how I'm efficiently working my way through a bag of candy corn right now. Anyhow, here they are: Kitten's First Full Moon (Henkes, 2004) - 264 words  - 3 minutes to read (1.5 seconds/word) Children Make Terrible Pets (Brown, 2010) - 372 words - 3' 40" to read (1.7 seconds/word) The Boy Who Cried Ninja (Latimer, 2011) - 517 words - 4 minutes to read (2.2 seconds/word) You may be saying "Well, there's some variability each time you read a story." And you are right. I didn't note how many times my

Mentor Texts

I read in several "how to write" books to try typing out picture books you love to see what they looked like as a manuscript.   Well, I dutifully ignored this advice for a year. I finally tried it with the following books a few weeks ago:             Kitten's First Full Moon - 264 words (By Kevin Henke, 2004)             Children Make Terrible Pets - 372 words (By Peter Brown, 2010)             This Moose Belongs to Me - 397 words (By Oliver Jeffers, 2012)             The Boy Who Cried Ninja - 517 words (By Alex Latimer, 2011) Here's what I learned: Typing the text let's you really absorb it. Like drinking it through a straw.  I also tried drinking it through a straw, but it required so much water to make the pages slurpable that I really got a significant tummy ache and a severe case of belching. "Look Ma, I learned how to use mentor texts!" image by  C├ęcile Graat via Typing it out (if you're a fast keyer) is much b