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1. Sheboygan Children's Book Festival

http://sheboyganchildrensbookfestival.org/2016-authors-and-illustrators/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Announcing%20Authors%20%20Illustrators&utm_content=Announcing%20Authors%20%20Illustrators+CID_bdf08b99ddac5563b50651fac61cddda&utm_source=Email%20marketing&utm_term=authorillustrator%20pages

Sheboygan Childrens Book Festival

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2. The Setting Thesaurus Books Are Releasing Soon…Will You Help Us?

It’s a great day here at Writers Helping Writers, because Becca and I can finally write the words that we’ve been wanting to type out for over two years now: The Setting Thesaurus books are coming. In fact, they are almost here, and we couldn’t be happier. The sights, smells, tastes, sounds and textures for two hundred and twenty-five settings…and that’s just the start. Take a gander at these back jacket blurbs:

Setting RuralThe Rural Setting Thesaurus:

Making the Story World Rich, Layered, and Unforgettable

Within the pages of a book exists a world drawn from a writer’s deepest imaginings, one that has the ability to pull readers in on a visceral level. But the audience’s fascination will only last if the writer can describe this vibrant realm and its inhabitants well. The setting achieves this by offering readers a unique sensory experience. So much more than stage dressing, the setting can build mood, convey meaning through symbolism, drive the plot by creating challenges that force the hero to fight for what he wants, and trigger his emotions to reveal his most intimate feelings, fears, and desires.

USE DESCRIPTION TO PLACE READERS AT THE HEART OF EVERY SCENE

Within this volume you will find:

  • A list of the sights, smells, tastes, textures, and sounds for over 100 settings revolving around school, home, and nature
  • Possible sources of conflict for each location to help you brainstorm ways to naturally complicate matters for your characters
  • Advice on the many effective ways to build mood, helping you steer both the character’s and readers’ emotions in every scene
  • Information on how the setting directly influences the plot by acting as a tuning fork for what a character needs most and by testing his dedication to his goals
  • A tutorial on figurative language and how different descriptive techniques can bring settings alive for readers while conveying a symbolic message or deeper meaning
  • A review of the challenges that arise when writing description, as well as special considerations that apply specifically to rural and personal settings

The Rural Setting Thesaurus takes “show-don’t-tell” to new heights. It offers writers a roadmap to creating fresh setting imagery that impacts the story on multiple levels and keeps readers engaged from the first page to the last.

Setting UrbanThe Urban Setting Thesaurus:

Drawing Readers in Through Emotion-Driven Imagery and Realism

Making readers care and feel like they’re part of the story should be the number one goal of all writers. Ironically, many storytellers fail to maximize one of fiction’s most powerful elements to achieve this: the setting. Rather than being a simple backdrop against which events unfold, every location has the potential to become a conduit for conveying emotion, characterizing the cast, providing opportunities for deep point of view, and revealing significant backstory.

MAKE YOUR DESCRIPTION WORK HARDER FOR YOUR STORY

  • A list of the sights, smells, tastes, textures, and sounds for over 120 urban settings
  • Possible sources of conflict for each location to help you brainstorm ways to naturally complicate matters for your characters
  • Advice on how to make every piece of description count so you can maintain the right pace and keep readers engaged
  • Tips on utilizing the five senses to encourage readers to more fully experience each moment by triggering their own emotional memories
  • Information on how to use the setting to characterize a story’s cast through personalization and emotional values while using emotional triggers to steer their decisions
  • A review of specific challenges that arise when choosing an urban location, along with common descriptive pitfalls that should be avoided

The Urban Setting Thesaurus helps you tailor each setting to your characters while creating a realistic, textured world your readers will long to return to, even after the book closes.

The Big Question: WHEN?

June 2016! We are shooting for the second week. We would like to give you a very specific launch date, but unfortunately our longtime formatter and designer has been struggling with health issues that have caused unavoidable delays, and while everyone is doing all they can to keep things on track, Becca and I can’t provide an exact date just yet.

Regardless, we do need to move forward with the planning of our launch event, and we sure could use some help. Becca and I have come up with something very fun this time around, an event we hope all our writer friends will greatly enjoy participating in.

Writers Helping Writers Collection_6

Dear Readers, Will You Help Us During Launch Week?

To pull off this epic thesaurus celebration, we will need some supportive blogger friends who would be willing to donate a post to the visibility cause. This post can be scheduled in advance, go up any time during launch week that works for you, and as always, I am happy to create it!  Even if you don’t blog, it’s always nice to have people willing to share our posts online, too.  :)

In the past, we’ve hosted some pretty creative events, and this particular one I have had in the idea bank for years, waiting for the right time. So, if you are interested in possibly joining the Thesaurus Club to help with our SUPER SECRET LAUNCH EVENT, just fill out this FORM and I will email you about it. (This one is easy and fun, guaranteed!)

Becca and I are so pleased to bring you this set of books. The sensory detail within required a lot of travel, investigation, and time to collect. We hope these two volumes help you level up your sensory description to better pull readers into each moment, making your story and characters both compelling and memorable.

Want to sneak-a-peek at one of our entries? Just go here to see “Police Car.”

The post The Setting Thesaurus Books Are Releasing Soon…Will You Help Us? appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS™.

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3. What's New in YA--May 3, 2016

Are you wondering what's new in YA today? Check out these wonderful new releases!       Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court–but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed...

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4. Back Soon.....?


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5. Sneak Peek: Alice and the Fly by James Rice + Giveaway (US Only)

Hi, YABCers! Today we're super excited to present a sneak peek from James Rice's ALICE AND THE FLY, releasing May 3, 2016. Below, you can read the sneak peek and enter the fabulous giveaway! ALICE AND THE FLY by James Rice Release date: May 3, 2016   About the Book Miss...

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6. Kimberly Kincaid - a Tribute

I lost one of my dearest friends, Kim Kincaid this past week. It is her memorial today - a thing which I can hardly wrap my head around - it was so sudden, and far, far too soon. We've spoken at least weekly, many times daily for the past 8 years. I feel her absence keenly. I thought it might help me to talk about some of my memories of her....

I met Kim back in 2008, at the first Illustration Master Class. I didn't know anyone else there and felt totally out of my depth. Kim was gracious and welcoming. We bonded over being in the 'older ladies' club (the bulk of the attendees were much younger whippersnappers.)

I was charmed by both Kim and her work.

We stayed in close contact after IMC. Talked about art. Our families. Our mutual faith. The nature of beauty and creativity. We critiqued each other's work. We looked forward to spending in-person time together at the IMC the following year.

No one was a more enthusiastic student than Kim. She took every opportunity to glean every bit of knowledge she could from instructors, other artists and fellow students.  She frequently reached out to artists whose work she admired to ask them about their technique, or their inspiration - in person when she could, but online when that was not possible. She was fearless in that way.

She talked with *everyone*.  And was also a fabulous listener. 
People felt safe, and heard, talking with her.

She was also willing to help out in any way she could - I have many pictures she let me take of her modeling for me (in this case as one of a dozen different flying monkeys she posed as). Her thoughtfulness always put me to shame. I have a stack of birthday, Christmas, and I'm-just-thinking-of-you cards in my studio. When our beloved dog of 11 years died of cancer, Kim was the one to send me Dog Heaven in the hopes it would help me feel better. I've heard many stories from others of her little kindnesses and thoughtful gestures when they needed it.

When I started facilitating TLCWorkshops, Kim was my biggest cheerleader and  the very first person to sign up (shown here with Greg Manchess - my first, and most frequent, favorite instructor. Kim was his favorite student).

She was also the first person to stay in our shiny new guest room when my kids left home. We shared our love of animals, nature, music. And art. Always art.

Kim was also an avid reader and a former librarian. I can't tell you how many conversations we had comparing books and literature. She created truly lovely tributes (fan art) to many of the book characters she loved and was touched by. These resonated with other fans of the same books - she was able to really capture the intangible but heart-felt essence of so many characters in her illustrations.

While always tentative about her artistic abilities, she quietly racked up achievement after achievement - commissions, being accepted into illustration annuals, gallery shows, etc.. A few years ago, she was one of four "Rising Stars" chosen by the esteemed Muddy Colors blog, and got to show her work at  the Spectrum Fantastic Art Live convention.

She was somewhat overwhelmed by the experience - her first convention -  and being around so many of her artistic heroes in attendance. Sweet, lovely Kim, however fit right in (here at dinner between one art-idol, Bill Carman, and the incomparable Paul Bonner).

Kim continued to work incessantly to hone her skills. And to engage more emotionally with her work. We attended Smart School together online (studying under Rebecca Guay.) It was a joy to watch her thought processes in and out of class and to have a fellow student to talk through our mutual approaches as we problem solved and pushed ourselves. Kim always helped me elevate both my work and myself.

Last summer, we returned to the IMC again. We both wanted to participate in their new Gallery focus, and watch the amazing Brad Kunkle at work, and of course, Kim made the most of every demo, every instructor, every conversation...

She wasn't satisfied with the piece she created there -but even her 'reject' art was lyrical and compelling.

I always found her graphite work especially exquisite - even the rough sketches.  (Here is a preliminary study for her Snow Child painting currently hanging in Krab Jab Studio's "Dream Covers" gallery show). For the Faery art shows I curated for Krab Jab, Kim was always one of my first choices for artists to invite.

This is how I picture Kim when I think of her - at once quiet, humble and self-depreciating, but with a completely quirky, witty take on life. Her very quick sense of humor always caught me by surprise and delighted me. 

Oh Kim, I miss you so much already. Your innate goodness and deeply held faith. Your generosity and selfless care for everyone you came in contact with. Your deep devotion to your friends and especially family. Your incessant search for beauty and truth and self expression. Your willingness to let me talk and rail and try to find those same things in myself. You are such an inspiration of the type of person I aspire to be. My confidant, my art-sister, my friend. I can't wait until we are able to talk and share and create together again. Love you.



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7. Press Release: The Rule of Thoughts by James Dashner

  Now available in paperback!   The Rule of Thoughts   By the New York Times Bestselling Author of The Maze Runner Series   Includes bonus content from the forthcoming prequel to the Maze Runner series, The Fever Code    Praise for the Mortality Doctrine series: “Dashner takes full advantage of the Matrix-esque potential for asking...

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8. Sony Takes The High Road And Settles Animation Wage-Theft Lawsuit

While Disney, Pixar, Lucasfilm, and Dreamworks are still fighting against their employees, Sony has reached a settlement with the animation workers.

The post Sony Takes The High Road And Settles Animation Wage-Theft Lawsuit appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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9. Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Brianne Farley

  Several weeks ago at Kirkus, I wrote here about Brianne Farley’s new picture book, Secret Tree Fort, published by Candlewick just last month. When I write about picture books over at Kirkus, I always like to follow up with art about a week later here at 7-Imp. I can’t write about picture books without […]

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10. Sneak Peek: The Untimely Deaths of Alex Wayfare by MG Buehrlen + Giveaway (US Only)

Hi, YABCers! Today we're super excited to present a sneak peek from MG Buehrlen's THE UNTIMELY DEATHS OF ALEX WAYFARE, which released April 26, 2016 from Diversion Books. Check out information about the book below, the sneak peek, and a giveaway!   THE UNTIMELY DEATHS OF ALEX WAYFARE by MG Buehrlen...

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11. in which a reader of STORY taps deeply into its mystery

In which Serena Agusto-Cox of Savvy Verse and Wit discovers the breadcrumb clues I've been leaving for readers all along, book to book. So many thanks for this truly gorgeous review of This Is the Story of You.

From the end of the review:

This Is the Story of You by Beth Kephart will astonish you with the resilience of young people, their drive to make things right, and their ability to withstand more than expected, but it is in the final pages that the true mystery is resolved.  I will say this, I’m not often surprised by book endings or mysteries, but Kephart exceeded my detective skills for the first time in a long while.  (I had suspicions, but not a fully formed conclusion.)  Readers who love to immerse themselves in realistic places and explore humanity won’t be disappointed.  Kephart is a talent at creating places that come alive and characters that grab hold of us emotionally.

**You’ve probably already suspected this is a contender for the best of 2016 list at the end of the year!**

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12. Press Release: Where the Red Fern Grows

THIS JUST IN!   BUSTLEis celebrating the release of the  special anniversary edition of WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS (on sale today) with their exclusive feature of the new cover!    Click here to read the feature.     This article also releases Newbery Medal-winning and Printz Honor-winning author Clare Vanderpool’s letter, which is included in...

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13. Short Story – Audio- Monica Gupta

Click here to listen Audio Short Story – Audio- Monica Gupta आईए आज आपको सुनाती हूं एक मेरी लिखी कहानी ” मौन अभिव्यक्ति” मेरी ही आवाज में…… !!! कहानी 10 क्लास मे पढने वाले राहुल की है कि किस तरह से एक अंजानी महिला मौन रहते हुए उसका जीवन बदल देती है और जब राहुल […]

The post Short Story – Audio- Monica Gupta appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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14. Replacement window


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15. Legs - a bookwrap





Quotes about being lost...








Unwrapping...







Legs - The tale of a meerkat lost and found

Authored by Sarah J. Dodd
Illustrated by Guisi Capizzi


Unwrapping some illustrations...
















About the book...


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16. HENRY WANTS MORE! in the wild...

Hooray!  I finally spotted HENRY WANTS MORE! (written by Linda Ashman and illustrated by me) out in the wild and among friends.  :D

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17. A woodsy step by step GIF

 photo Stella-Gif-S.gif

It's back to the woods with another step by step GIF. The experience of creating an entire landscape by one's self is uniquely satisfying - we illustrators do create our own little worlds after all.

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18. Waterfall and Campfire

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19.


i thought it would be interetsing and fun to take a look into the creative process of my paintings...from thumbnail to sketch to paint palette(s) to the finsihed piece. i know i absolutely geek out looking at other artists WIPs so i thought i'd create a new album after each painting of the step by step process i use (and have used for YEARS) and share it with everyone. i work traditonally...pencil, paper, paint, canvas. i have much respect for the digital artists of the world yet for me, the passion and love will ALWAYS be in the traditonal tube of paint. old school...and proud. 

this is part three in my series...the making of "sweet serenity", inspired by this year's pantone color palette.

for a look at the full album and step by step instructions, please click on over to my Facebook page...and perhaps give it a "like", if you would be so kind! :)

PRINTS of this beauty here. other awesomeness can be found here. ORIGINAL PAINTING is AVAILABLE. contact me, if interested. 

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20. Featured Review: Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes

About this book: The first novel in Colleen Oakes’s epic, imaginative series tells the origin of one of the most infamous villains—the Queen of Hearts. This is not the story of the Wonderland we know. Alice has not fallen down a rabbit hole. This is a Wonderland where beneath each smile...

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21. The Children's Homer

The Children's Homer. Padraic Colum. 1918/1982. 256 pages. [Source: Bought]

I really enjoyed reading Padraic Colum's The Children's Homer, a retelling--originally published in 1918--of the Iliad and the Odyssey. You should know from the start that it is a prose retelling.

The story opens by introducing readers to Telemachus, the now grown son of Odysseus. When Telemachus was just a baby--just a month old--his father went off to war, to fight in the Trojan War. The war took ten long, agonizing years. But it's been over for just as many--ten long years. Telemachus and his mother, Penelope, need to know: Is Odysseus dead or alive? If he's alive, where is he? Why hasn't he come home yet? They are not the only one curious. Plenty of men want to know too. But. They're hoping that Odysseus is dead and not alive. Why?! They want a chance at Penelope. They've come to "woo" her. That and to eat and drink a lot at the estate's expense. Telemachus wants it to stop. It angers him to see so many men about the place anxiously trying to become Penelope's new husband. So what can he do about it?

For one, he can set out on a quest of his own to see if he can find traces of his father's story. Because Telemachus has at least one or two gods or goddesses on his side, he is somewhat mostly successful. He hears ALL about the Trojan war. Not just about his father, but, about many men--many soldiers. Including Achilles and Hector and Paris. He also learns that his father survived the war and is trying to come back home.

The second half of the book is about Odysseus' journey back home and how he handled or resolved the situation with all those men chasing after his wife. It is mainly if not exclusively from Odysseus' point of view. Readers see a couple of happy reunions along the way.

Plenty of action and adventure happens in both sections as the war and its aftermath is recounted. It is an interesting read. Parts of it felt very familiar to me. Overall, it was just a pleasant, enjoyable read.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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22. FMX Report #2: What The VR Future Holds

As quickly as it began, FMX is over for another year. Perhaps more than at previous conferences, speakers were especially confident in discussing the current state of the animation, vfx, and digital content creation industries – including the state of virtual reality. Just as importantly, there was much discussion of the future, especially with the clear arrival of vr and interactive and immersive storytelling. Just what should filmmakers do with this new medium? Luckily, pretty much the world’s top vr filmmakers were there to weigh in.

VR capture tools, techniques for producing content, and headsets for displaying that content seem to be innovated upon almost weekly. We still don’t know quite yet what many of the virtual reality and augmented reality tech companies have in store for us (think: Magic Leap). But there are, of course, already many ways to experience vr and several studios have dived into vr content creation. The question is, how do you make that content compelling?

At FMX, an expert panel of vr and immersive filmmakers hosted by Google Spotlight Stories’ Kim Adams was on hand to discuss their relatively short but intense experiences in the field. One of those panelists was Jan Pinkava of Pixar fame (Geri’s Game, Ratatouille). Now creative director at Spotlight Stories (part of Google ATAP), Pinkava created an early interactive film for mobile devices in 2013 with Windy Day, while ATAP was still part of Motorola.

Pinkava’s film grew out of a mission at ATAP to create something emotional for the smartphone; the group recruited Pinkava, who brought aboard other Pixar veterans like Doug Sweetland and Mark Oftedal. “We wanted to do something with this power, something emotional,” Pinkava told a packed FMX audience. “Coming from Pixar, those films they make are emotional – so we thought, let’s make movies. We sat in a room and said, why don’t we make a movie and give the camera to the audience?”

After overseeing other films crafted in Google’s ongoing Spotlight series, Pinkava has formed his own views about what works in immersive and interactive films, whether they be 360 degree experiences or vr pieces that can be watched with either simple goggles or hard-wired headsets. Pinkava constantly asks, when considering vr proposals, ‘Is this the best way to watch this? Is every way I’m going to watch this a good way? As a director, how can you help that experience for the audience be a good one?’

Two other filmmakers on the panel with experience in Google Spotlight Stories were Tim Ruffle and Jason Fletcher-Bartholomew from Aardman Animations. They collaborated on the 360-degree Special Delivery. Writing Special Delivery required a re-think of the traditional short film script. “In our heads we initially wrote a linear script,” said Fletcher-Bartholomew. “We would write in background gags, but we should have concentrated on the main chase. So getting out of that linear mindset was actually quite hard for a number of weeks. Even our storyboard was very linear, but in end we cut it up on different walls. If anyone looked at it they would have thought we were mad. We went back to cardboard cutouts and moving back to theater-like sets.”

Another challenge faced on this Aardman short, the duo shared, was how to lead the viewer around in the story and not have them get lost in the 360 world. “I found it more like choreographing a play than writing a play,” said Ruffle. “We made sure there were elements of our sets that made particular characters visible. It’s a bit like video game language. People just seem to understand to look in certain directions because something is happening over ‘there.’”

This requirement to consider new ways of choreographing the action in an immersive film was a view also shared by Nexus’ co-founder and executive creative director Chris O’Reilly. Nexus is making a new Google Spotlight Story called Rain or Shine (some clips were shown here at FMX). “Directors come in with filmmaking tools, but they all need re-thinking in vr,” said O’Reilly. “We were thinking about how to control spaces. We talked to games companies. We even talked to architects who have experience in cajoling people through airports.”

Aardman and Nexus’ experience also highlights one important aspect of vr right now: it’s new. Which means everyone is experimenting. Jacquie Barnbrook, a producer with The VR Company, which is in the process of making the much-anticipated The Martian VR experience, says part of the joy and frustration of vr filmmaking right now is just getting through it. “The director of The Martian VR, Robert Stromberg, says we’re building the plane as we’re flying it – we may die,” Barnbrook related. “Shooting in vr is the most weird and awkward experience you can imagine. Things like our cameras are not yet able to sustain shooting for more than six minutes. We were putting cups of ice on the cameras to cool them down!”

For Mirada Studios’ Andy Cochrane, who has worked on everything from a Google Shop VR Tour to The Strain VR, the result of this new wave of interactive filmmaking actually provides the opportunity to serve in multiple roles. “I’m a technical supervisor, a director, a visual effects supervisor. We settled on ‘digital and interactive director’ because it seemed to be descriptive of something.”

And Cochrane suggests that this new vr/interactive storytelling world – which is heavily concentrated right now on the west coast of the U.S – just happens to come at a time when the visual effects industry on that side of the country has been partially decimated by subsidies and other benefits being offered elsewhere. That, says Cochrane, represents an opportunity to visual effects artists who once worked in Los Angeles and are highly suited to technical and artistic aspects of virtual reality. Indeed, effects artists have for years been dealing with stitching plates, making 3D scenes and characters, and solving complex lighting issues, in helping to tell compelling stories.

The future does look bright in vr and immersive and interactive entertainment, even if we don’t quite know just what it ‘is’ yet. Certainly, vr content providers are doing everything they can to, as Jan Pinkava observes, “put tools out there for their collaborators — filmmakers — to make the things they know how to do. The whole purpose is then to make all this available to you, the audience.”

The post FMX Report #2: What The VR Future Holds appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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23. Lilacs

I always bought a big bouquet
Of lilacs every Mothers’ Day.
My mother loved their sweet perfume
Which wafted over every room.

There were no flowers other days
To spruce things up with bright displays,
Just once a year to celebrate
A date for those who procreate.

Today, the lilacs’ cloying scent
Reminds me of when I’d present
A bunch for which I’d proudly paid
On my own Mothers’ Day crusade.

I did it more for me than her;
Were she alive, she might concur
For giving them, I felt more pride
Than what, to her, they could provide.

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24. Current Work in Progress

A sneaky peek at what I am working on at the moment. Juggling a few projects, a growth chart, a children's book, and some prehistoric animals including a dire wolf (ala ‪#‎Game‬ of Thrones). Lots of blue and gold textures.

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25. Guest Post: Skila Brown on Having Fun With Writing

By Skila Brown
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

Skila Brown is the author of verse novels Caminar and To Stay Alive, as well as the picture book Slickety Quick: Poems About Sharks, all with Candlewick Press. 

She received an M.F.A. from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She grew up in Kentucky and Tennessee and now lives in Indiana where she writes books for readers of all ages.

We all reach a point when writing doesn’t feel very fun. Maybe because we’ve read too many rejection letters. Or maybe because we’ve revised so much we can’t recognize our story. Or maybe because we’re under a deadline and the pressure to finish takes away all the enjoyment.

October, 2016
But remember why we started doing this? It wasn’t because we wanted to get rich quick. (Ha!) Or because it was the only job we could do. Or because anyone was making us write. It was because it was fun.

The art of creating story was fun. We became writers because we like telling stories—we like making up details, researching history and narrating events. All of that was fun.

Six years ago, I got serious about becoming a writer and applied to an MFA program. When I got a call from the admissions office saying, “Hey – we’re doing this intensive picture book semester and we have room for one more student. Would you like to try it?”

I thought, That could be fun. And I soon found myself immersed.

Six months of reading almost nothing but picture books. Dozens of picture books. Hundreds of picture books. Rhyming ones, silly ones, concept books, fairy tales. Biographies, bedtime stories, wordless books and—poetry.

The thing about sitting down at the library and reading through a knee-high stack of poetry books is that after reading a dozen, two dozen, I started to see really fast what makes a certain one good. I really liked the ones that were centered around a theme, with varied types of poetry and bonus little nonfiction facts sprinkled on top.

 I should try to do that, I thought. Being enrolled in a class that expected me to produce many picture book drafts in a short period of time didn’t let me dwell on whether it was a good idea or not. It just demanded that I try it out. That I play with it.

And I did. It was fun to research shark breeds and learn about sharks I’d never heard of before. (Hello, cookie-cutter shark!)

I spent a lot of time on YouTube watching sharks swim and thinking about their rhythm and shape and how that would feed into a poem. It was fun to learn new stuff. And it was really fun to try my hand at writing all different types of poems.

To challenge myself to make sure the next one didn’t rhyme or the next one was a concrete poem or the next one was a haiku. Not all of the experimenting worked. But every bit of it was fun.

As writers we need to remember what drew us to this field to begin with and do whatever we can to find the fun again. Here are 4 quick ways you can find the fun in writing this week:

  1. Be a spy. Go outside and find an animal or a plant and just sit and watch it for 10 minutes, writing down whatever comes to mind. See if you can take that and shape it into a poem when the time is up. 
  2. Play a game. Find a Mad Libs. Caption a funny photo.  
  3. Have fun with first lines. Opening sentences can be really fun to make up. Write a list of ten of them and then send the list out to your critique group. Let them vote on one that you’ll turn into a short story. 
  4. Write something that is completely out of your comfort zone. If you normally write YA contemporary, try writing a scene of a middle grade historical novel. Write the end of a story. Write in second person. Do something new and fresh that shakes it up a little in your routine.

It’s worth it to take a break from the WIP and play a little. Remembering what’s fun about writing will improve your energy level on your current project.

But that’s not why you should do it. You should do it because it’s fun.

Cynsational Notes

Educator's Guide
Skila's new book, Slickety Quick: Poems About Sharks, was illustrated by Bob Kolar (Candlewick, 2016). From the promotional copy:

Fourteen shark species, from the utterly terrifying to the surprisingly docile, glide through the pages of this vibrantly illustrated, poetic picture book.

These concrete poems about a selection of sharks will tickle the fins of many an aspiring marine biologist. —Booklist

All in all, it’s a book that ought to leave many readers fascinated—and perhaps a little unsettled—by the diversity of sharks that exist beneath the waves. —Publishers Weekly

An inviting format to spark shark discussions. —Kirkus Reviews

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