Showing posts from February, 2014

Writing a Birthday Party

My 6yo's birthday last week seriously cramped my writing time. I worry when days pass without writing. Will I forget how to write? Will my pen weep ink on my desk? Will my ideas elope with some other writer? I was also having a hard time pulling the party together. My mantra for this year was "keep it simple," like the good ol' days: pin the tail, hit the piƱata, sing the song, eat the cake, and GO HOME! But instead of simple my plan just looked loosey-goosey. It needed structure. It needed...a story! With that inspiration I got a little writing time and pulled the party together.  You'll have to resist judging the literary merit of the following Little Mermaid-inspired party surprise: "Stop the music! I just received a letter from Ariel." I know you are having a birthday party, but Scuttle flew in with news: Ursula is trying to overthrow my kingdom!  I 'm away on my honeymoon with my true love, Prince Erik. So, I need your help. Wil

Message Driven Picture Books

Tara Lazar did a lovely job last year discussing the problems with message driven picture books . You know, those stories that drive a moral down your throat and tell you sharing is caring and blah blah blah.  I don't mind subtle messages in stories, because, I mean, someone has to teach my children how to behave. (Why are you looking at me like that?) But no one likes a book that tastes like a spoonful of castor oil.   There's only one thing I dislike more: Message driven picture books targeted to moms. You know what I'm talking about... The ones with the mom who  doesn't  care that grandma's urn just got knocked off the shelf with a whoopee cushion and her mom's ashes are all over the floor. "Oh I still love you!"             Or... "Mommy doesn't care that you nearly suffocated your brother with a post-Taco Bell dutch oven. You're still perfect to me!" It's just unrealistic. Most moms would be yelling, &

Writing Out Your Knots

The Nerdy Chicks had a great post in the fall which is still sticking with me. They shared soundbites from YALLFest, which sounds like a raucous hoedown ( a redundancy, of course there's no such thing as a boring hoedown ), but is actually a YA Lit event. I particularly sparked to Rainbow Rowell 's quote  (as quoted by Jocelyn Rish):  “ Writing about real things lets you work through your knots through your characters.” So true. Writing is great therapy. It’s always interesting to see the “knots” which end up in my stories by some subconscious mechanism. I was exceptionally blessed with "knots" in the last 12 months. The challenges haven't literally appeared in my writing, but the underlying feelings interloped on a regular basis. (Image by John Byer via I was stunned the first time this realization hit.  A critique partner helped me with a query letter for a sweet, nature-inspired, quiet book.  She said, "Well, since it&#