Writer’s Studio

Writer’s Studio: Finding the Emotional Resonance

Posted by on Oct 4, 2013 in Picture Books, Writer Tips & Tools, Writer's Studio | 2 comments

Last weekend I had the pleasure and honor of presenting at our 2013 Fall Letters & Lines Conference. The session I gave was called “What’s Your Picture Book About? Developing Effective Story Summaries.” One of the most wonderful things about picture books is that there is such a variety of types; not every picture book is a traditional narrative story with a character, a conflict, and a resolution. However, for those that follow this model, I encouraged writers to go deeper and find and exploit the emotional resonance in their stories. Using Maurice Sendak’s Where...

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Writer’s Studio: Brainstorming Your Way Out of the Box

Posted by on Aug 2, 2013 in Writer Tips & Tools, Writer's Studio | 0 comments

I completely forgot to do my Writer’s Studio for July, so I wanted to make sure we had one for August! One of the most frequent comments writers see when an editor takes a pass on a picture book manuscript is something along the lines of “It’s not distinct/unique/different enough to stand out in a crowded market.” I, myself, have had this comment, even after editors have loved the writing and really liked the manuscript. It can be maddening to feel you’ve got a wonderful manuscript, but it’s not quite there. Recently I was discussing one such manuscript...

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Writer’s Studio: Using Scrivener to Storyboard Your Picture Book

Posted by on Jun 7, 2013 in Picture Books, Writer Tips & Tools, Writer's Studio | 0 comments

When I was on faculty at the Big Sur in the Rockies Workshop in May, I happened to mention that I started using Scrivener to write my latest novel and how much it has helped keep me organized. One of the writer’s asked if I used it for writing picture books and I said no. But after thinking about it for a minute, I said it could work. “In fact, you could use it to storyboard your picture book after it’s written using Corkboard view!” This got me all excited so of course when I got home, I fired up Scrivener and tried it out. (Thank you, Stacy!) The first time I copied...

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Writer’s Studio: Giving Direction to Your Book

Posted by on May 3, 2013 in Novels, Writer's Studio | 0 comments

Most writers (myself included) hate the word “outline” (though I do know some who embrace it. They are often the ones who write faster and more efficiently than me). The word conjures up thoughts of five-paragraph essays and other dreaded writing assignments in school. So we may use euphemisms like I do in the title–mapping, planning, plotting, organizing. Each word brings to mind different methodologies, but each one should help provide some kind of path to working our way through our book. Back in my January 1 post on setting realistic writing goals, I mentioned that I...

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Writer’s Studio: Reading to Write

Posted by on Apr 5, 2013 in Novels, Writer Tips & Tools, Writer's Studio | 0 comments

One of the many things I talked about in my writing classes is “reading as a writer.” I know there are some authors who won’t read any books while they are writing one, or choose books outside their genre so their own experience can be completely pure. I applaud that and can appreciate it. But for me, reading books that are in my genre has made me a better writer. If you’ve read about my saga with my current novel–working title: Fade Away–you know I took an eighth month hiatus from it because I was stuck on a plot point. Only by reading another book was I...

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Writer’s Studio: Making Good (Word) Choices

Posted by on Mar 1, 2013 in Novels, Writer Tips & Tools, Writer's Studio | 0 comments

Last Friday at my Wild Writers critique meeting, someone commented on how she was chomping at the bit to start a new novel, and a few people echoed her excitement about the joys of the first draft, free and unfettered. For them anyway. I’m still not completely out of my habit of agonizing over word choices as I write. I’ll catch myself hesitating because the word or phrase or sentence I just wrote isn’t quite what I mean and what if I forget about it when I start to revise? The truth is that I’m not going to forget. if it’s bad, I’ll see it and can fix it....

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