Category Archives: Picture Books

Aussie Author Month – Graeme Base

I have long loved Graeme Base‘s books; they are amazing in both prose and illustrations (of which he does both). Although I focused on a picture book author last week, Graeme Base writes for older readers (from upper primary school children to adults).

Fantastic Detail

Before I discuss his writing, I just have to pay tribute to Base’s stunningly beautiful and detailed illustrations. These highly detailed illustrations are not only beautifully drawn on a surface level, in many of his books they include hidden pictures, intricate details and even clues. Some examples:

The Waterhole

(Notice the hidden monkey in the bottom left or the tarantula on the right? There are ten hidden animals on this page worked into the detail of the trees, etc.)

The Eleventh Hour

(Why yes, the numbers on the game board are out of order… a clue perhaps?)

Clever Prose

The detailed illustrations are complemented with clever, and often witty, prose, including well-written rhyme and alliteration.

Diabolical dragons daintily devouring delicious delicacies.” (Animalia)

Now Bertie knocked at Number Four… but silence reigned supreme.

The door swung open soundlessly, as if it were a dream,

For this was where Miss Poodle lived, ‘The Mademoiselle of Mime’,

And for an hour, without a sound, she acted out the crime.” (pg. 14, Enigma)

Picture Books for Older Readers

With the exception of The Waterhole and perhaps Animalia (as they can both be enjoyed by younger readers), the majority of Graeme Base’s picture books are aimed at older primary school readers (or even adults). They include complex language, mysteries to get the reader thinking and a sense of adventure. They often also include historical and geographical references.

Sorry to hear the raid was a bit of a flop, but I don’t see how it was my fault. I can’t help it if the Ancient Britons are onto us and have moved inland. Frankly I think the bottom is falling out of this Viking business and we should look at reindeer farming or something instead.” (pg. 6, The Discovery of Dragons)

That night Sprocc played his music as he never had before,

A sea of sound that rose and fell upon a rhythmic shore.

‘Nice meshing, Sprocc-groob!’ Stickman called. ‘You’ve really got it down!

This joint ain’t heard a mesh like this since SkatMan came to town.’” (The Worst Band in the Universe)

Graeme Base’s books need to be experienced in person to fully understand how clever and beautifully illustrated they are. It is easy to spend hours immersed in their pages.

A side note in regards to Aussie Author Month:

One of the aims of Aussie Author month is to raise awareness and funds for the Indigenous Literacy Project – a project that aims to raise Literacy levels amongst Inigenous Australians living in rural and remote communities. You can learn more here: http://www.indigenousliteracyproject.org.au/ and you can donate to the project as part of Aussie Author month here: http://www.gofundraise.com.au/page/ausbooks

Aussie Author Month – Mem Fox

In Australia we are spoiled for fabulous picture book authors (and illustrators). From the clever prose and gorgeous illustrations of Graeme Base (Animalia; The Waterhole) for older picture book readers to the endearing storylines of Margaret Wild (There’s a Sea in My Bedroom; Kiss, Kiss!) for younger picture book readers. From Australian picture book classics which Australian children have been reading for generations, such as May Gibbs’ Snugglepot and Cuddle Pie, to newer picture books, such as Kathryn Apel’s This is the Mud. A favourite picture book author of mine, and of my children, too, is Mem Fox. We have many of her books on our bookshelf and they are much requested at bedtime. So what is it about Mem Fox’s books that makes both parents, teachers and children alike keep reading them over and over again?

Rhyme

Many of Mem Fox’s books are written in rhyme. As a writer who loves to write picture books, I know just how hard rhyme is to pull off effectively. It’s not just about finding the right words to rhyme, it’s also about rhythm and flow. Mem Fox’s rhymes always flow naturally and beautifully, giving her stories a lovely lyrical quality.

It’s time for bed, little fish, little fish,

So hold your breath and make a wish.” (Time for Bed)

Here is the near sheep. Here is the far sheep.

Here is the moon sheep. And here is the star sheep.” (Where is the Green Sheep?)

Australiana

Mem Fox’s use of Australian animals as characters—characters who personify the Aussie spirit— tied in with other pieces of Australiana (food, places, slang terms), make her books feel like home to Australian readers, who can relate to familiar images and language evoked by Fox. International readers are introduced to peculiar creatures and new experiences from the land ‘Down Under’.

Later, on a beach in Perth, they ate a piece of pavlova.

Hush’s legs appeared. So did her body.

‘You look wonderful, you precious possum!’ said Grandma Poss. “Next stop—Tasmania.’

And over the sea they went.” (Possum Magic)

One night, beside a low camp fire,

They heard the men talk loud

about a boatrace way out west

That’d make all Aussies proud.

One said he’d give his two eye teeth

To be there at the race.

‘My oath, too right!’ the other said,

With longing on his face.” (Sail Away: The Ballad of Skip and Nell)

Repetitive Language

Young children love books with repetitive language and, when reading aloud, children will often join in because they can pick up on the repetitiveness. They can predict what will be said on the next page. My preschooler son will sit down with a Mem Fox book and read the book to himself from memory because the repetitiveness of the text, combined with the pictures, means he can easily remember the story and the words. This is a great precursor to learning to read. Mem Fox’s books are perfect for this pre-reading stage.

“‘Good grief!’ said the goose.

‘Well, well!’ said the pig.

‘Who cares?’ said the sheep.

‘So what?’ said the horse.

‘What next?’ said the cow.” (Hattie and the Fox)

And her sister said,

‘I’ll get you a sweater when the weather gets wetter,

to go with the blouse with the ribbons and bows,

to go with the skirt that won’t show the dirt,

to go with the socks from the local shops,

to go with the shoes from grandpa.’” (Shoes from Grandpa)

Page-turning Storyline

Mem Fox’s stories are written in such a way that the reader just has to turn the page to find out what happens next. The stories often build to the climax. Where is that green sheep? What can Poss eat to make her visible? Will Skip and Nell make the race in time?

If you’re a writer of picture books, check out this very interesting article on Mem Fox’s site about her process for writing Where is the Green Sheep? http://www.memfox.com/green-sheep-secrets.html There are some fantastic gems of advice in there, including this:

” After twenty one years of writing for children, I’ve come to appreciate that the books young children like best fall broadly into two categories: either short books with a pattern, based on rhyme, rhythm or repetition; or short books with a really good story. They don’t like nostalgia books. They don’t like first person books. And they don’t like long books. Stories, or patterns: that’s it.”

For a great overview of Australia’s most popular children’s book authors, have a look at this article: http://www.cultureandrecreation.gov.au/articles/childrensbooks/

A side note in regards to Aussie Author Month:

One of the aims of Aussie Author month is to raise awareness and funds for the Indigenous Literacy Project – a project that aims to raise Literacy levels amongst Inigenous Australians living in rural and remote communities. You can learn more here: http://www.indigenousliteracyproject.org.au/ and you can donate to the project as part of Aussie Author month here: http://www.gofundraise.com.au/page/ausbooks

And don’t forget to check out all the other exciting things happening for Aussie Author Month.

Helpful Writing Sites and Blog Posts March 2011

I’m excited this month to introduce a new addition to my blog. If you look up at the tabs above you will see a new one titled, ‘Helpful Writing Sites and Blog Posts Masterlist’. In this master list I have gathered all the links from all the past editions of ‘Helpful Writing Sites and Blog Posts’ into one place. This way you won’t have to go searching through all the past editions to find the link you’re looking for. To make it even easier, I’ve put the links under headings, such as: ‘dialogue’, ‘openings’ and ‘queries’, so if you’re looking for information on query writing, go to the ‘queries’ section or if you want a stronger opening, go to the ‘openings’ section. From now on, whenever I do one of these monthly posts, the links will get added to the master list.

Now, onto this month’s edition:

Writing

How to Get Published: A Flowchart

A great flowchart (and checklist) on the writing process and a great way to know if you’re ready to query.

My Writing Success: The ONE Thing That Helped Me Most

Author Jody Hedlund explains the one specific thing that helped her most on her journey towards writing success.

On Story Openings

Using their soon-to-be-published anthology of stories as examples, The Australian Literature Review outlines the elements of effective story opening lines.

Story Skeletons: Teaching Plot Structure with Picture Books

Although this post is meant to be a teaching tool for young readers/writers in the classroom, it’s a great post for writers of picture books as well. It focuses on the basic structures used in picture story books and includes examples of each structure.

Where Should a Second Chapter Start?

There’s always a big focus for writers on getting that first chapter perfect, but what about chapter two? This post looks at building a strong second chapter.

Five Ways to Show Emotion in Your Writing

Based on the book From Where You Dream: The Process of Writing Fiction by Robert Olen Butler, this post looks at expressing emotion in your writing with a focus on showing vs telling.

Genre Novels – Word Count Rules, Subgenres, and Guidelines for Getting Your Book Published

A short guide to word count rules and subgenres for the various genres (fantasy, romance, historical, mystery, thriller, horror, YA, and Western).

Ten Mistakes Writers Don’t See (But Can Easily Fix When They Do)

Before you submit your work, double-check to make sure you haven’t made any of these mistakes that are easy to fix. (Sometimes this is where a critique partner can come in handy.)

NOTE: For number one, I find Wordle is a helpful website for weeding out crutch words. For number nine, reading aloud is a great way to pick up on awkward phrasing.

The Doctor is in the House – Novel Diagnostics

An exploration of common problems found in the beginning of a manuscript that can be an indicator of problems in the rest of the manuscript.

Queries/Pitches

The Twitter Query

A look at how to write an effective query in only 140 characters.

Rites of Submission: Cover Letters and Query Letters

This article includes two sample letters: an example of what not to do (including common mistakes) and a successful letter.

How I Got My Agent (Part 1: The Parts of a Good Query)

Author Susan Dennard shares advice on writing a good query letter, using her own successful query letter as an example.

Synopsis

How to Write a 1 Page Synopsis

A break down of the key elements needed for a one page synopsis. Includes worksheet.

Motivation

On Sticking With It

A reminder from author/agent Mandy Hubbard that is hard to become published, and why it is important to stick to it and not give up.

Social Media

Twitter Hashtags for Writers

Using these writer hashtags on Twitter is a great way to meet fellow writers. A comprehensive list of writer hashtags, including a schedule of writer chats on Twitter.

8 Sentence to Immediately Cut From Your Twitter

These 8 bio mistakes may be costing you followers and you may want to avoid them. Includes two things you may want to include instead.

Blogging Tips: Tips for Increasing Your Followers and/or Subscribers

Rachael Harrie has some great simple tips for building up a following on your writing blog.

Facebook for Authors: How to Get Started

Agent Nathan Bransford gives some helpful tips on starting up a Facebook author page.

For Fun

9 Things Everyone Needs to Know About Writers.

Very funny and very true. Pass this list on to all your non-writing friends.

Speaking of Facebook author pages, I’ve just started one of my own. You can find it here: http://www.facebook.com/JoHartAuthor or on the Facebook link on the sidebar of this blog.

Helpful Writing Sites and Blog Posts – October 2010 Edition

For this month’s helpful writing sites post I’m going to put the links under two sections. The first section will be sites and blog posts specific to NaNoWriMo since I’ve come across a few of these in the lead up to NaNoWriMo and the other section will be for general writing sites and blog posts, so if you’re not doing NaNoWriMo you can just skip down to that section (of course quite a few the NaNoWriMo specific links have some great information for all writers, so they’re worth a look anyway).

NaNoWriMo

Official NaNoWriMo Site

This is where you sign up if you want to be an official participant in NaNoWriMo. You can set up a bio page, connect with fellow NaNoWriMoers and find out information about National Novel Writing Month. There’s also a handy link to the forums.

NaNoWriMo Forums

If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo and haven’t already checked out the forums you should. There are a multitude of groups you can join, from age specific groups to genre specific groups. If you put in your location when you signed up there should also be a subforum visible for your area where you can connect with others near you and find out about local events like write-ins. There are also many threads that will prove to be helpful once the madness of November begins.

NaNo Notebook

One NaNoWriMoer describes a great way to organise a novel notebook in preparation for NaNoWriMo. At the end of the post she also includes some links to some writing tools that can be found online.

5 Reasons You Should Do NaNoWriMo

Still undecided if you should do NaNoWriMo or not? There’s still time to join! Johanna Penn lists some great reasons why NaNoWriMo is beneficial to any writer. I agree with every one of them.

Write or Die

I used this tool last year for NaNoWriMo and I don’t think I could have got as much written as I did without it. The idea is you have to keep writing until you reach the amount of time/words you set or you get ‘punished’. The punishments range from mild (an annoying noise) to severe (it starts erasing what you’ve written!). You get one pause, but once you’ve used it you can’t use it again for that session. I would use this one a lot if I got writers block, because it forced me to just write. It is also good if you are so many words off reaching your word goal for the day, as you can set the word goal you want to reach and just keep writing until you get to that goal. Don’t forget to copy and paste into your Word doc when your session is over.

General

Know Your Female Character Stereotypes

Wondering if your female character is stereotypical or original? Try this flowchart. Start at the start and answer the questions truthfully to see where your character falls.

Three Essential Tips for Writing a Publishable Novel

This post outlines three quick tips you can apply to write a publishable novel.

12 Common Picture Book Mistakes

A list of common errors picture book writers make.

The #1 culprit of Why Pitch Paragraphs in Adult or Children’s SF&F Query Letters Miss

As well as outlining the number one culprit of rejection of science fiction and fantasy book queries, agent Kristen also includes a list of the top ten reasons why SF&F query letters get rejected.

Top 25 Reasons Your Submissions Are Rejected

A list of reasons why agents and publishers reject writers’ submissions.

Does Your Book Have Series Potential?

This post was a lead-in to a scribechat that took place in early October, so the topic of whether your book has series potential isn’t discussed in this post. It does however have a handy little list describing the different types of series that exist.

Good luck to everyone participating in NaNoWriMo this year. For me it starts tomorrow! I’ll keep you updated on my progress throughout November.

Helpful Writing Sites and Blog Posts – September 2010 Edition

The end of the month is here, so it’s time for my monthly round-up of helpful writing sites and blog posts.

The Writing Process

Stories That Cross Borders and Boundaries

Tips for writing multicultural fiction.

Keeping Pace: Maintaining Momentum in Fiction

This article is based on a session from Aussiecon4. An in-depth look at creating effective pacing in your novel.

Fixing Character Errors

Heather McCorkle offers a few tips and tricks for keeping track of you character details so you don’t end up with inconsistencies.

5 Ways to Make Your Novel Unforgettable

Editor A. Victoria Mixon lists the main elements of getting to the climax of your novel in an engaging and unforgettable way.

The Worst Mistake A Writer Can Make

I know this is something I’m guilty of doing. I sit hunched over at my computer for hours at a time and I wonder why I get a sore back and neck. This is a post all writers should read and remember. Some great advice for those of us who spend a lot of time writing at our computers.

Picture Books

The Top 3 Considerations and Top 3 Pitfalls of Children’s Picture Books

Although this post is primarily aimed at those self-publishing picture books, there are some valid points in this post for all picture book writers to consider.

Writing Picture Books

A great an in-depth overview on the various elements that go into writing a picture book. I love the diagram included at the end.

Word Counts for Picture Books

Casey McCormick has compiled a post on appropriate word counts for picture books based on her knowledge as an agent intern and research (she lists her sources at the end of the post if you want to check them out).

Query Shark #178

It’s nice to see some posts on writing pb queries starting to surface around the web. When I wrote my post on pb queries a while back there weren’t many posts specifically relating to pb queries at all. Thank-you Query Shark for ripping apart a pb query this month!

Picture Book Queries

Kidlit agent Mary Kole has also posted on pb queries this month. She describes how pb queries need to be simple and gives an example. (Where were these insightful posts two months ago when I was writing my pb query?)

Pitching

How to Write a Logline

A short simple post on how to craft a logline for your novel.

Writing a Logline/The One-Sentence Pitch

This post goes a little more in-depth into writing a logline. It sets out the elements of a hook line and gives examples.

Social Media

Should Writers Talk About Their Rejections

A post tackling the issue of how much a writer should share of their rejections on social media.

10 Ways to Create a Better ‘About Page’ for Your Blog

If a publisher or agent comes across your blog and checks out your ‘About Page’ you want to present yourself in the most effective way possible. This post tells you how you can do just that.

Just for Fun

How to Write a Novel

A funny (and embarrassingly true) look at the journey of a writer.

Against Promotional Author Photographs

I laughed when I read this post as I recognised all the ‘author poses’ listed. As well as being a funny look at the typical ‘author pose’, it also made me determined to make sure I come up with something original when I do my own ‘author pose’ one day!

There’s a bit of a focus on picture books this month, but hopefully there is something here for writers from all genres/stages of writing.

Blogiversary Celebrations: Part One – A Reflection

Wow! I can’t believe one year ago today I made the very first post on this blog. I started this blog with the intention of sharing my writing journey with others, as well as sharing information and helpful links I found along the way. The blog has changed appearance in the course of the year (a new header, new theme, handy page links at the top and a cute little Twitter link), but the intention has always stayed the same.

By far the most popular posts I make are the ‘Helpful Website and Blog Post’ editions I post once a month, compiling all the helpful sites and writing information I’ve come across in the past month. (Look out for an award ceremony later today where I’ll be awarding some of my favourite sites of the past year.)

Lots has happened along my writing journey. I finished my YA novel and I’m currently in the last stages of tweaking it. My picture book story ‘Can You Jump Like a Kangaroo‘ came third in the Smories 2nd International Short Story Competition. My short story ‘Waiting on the Docks‘ was featured on The Australian Literature Review website. And I’ve met so many fantastic and supportive fellow writers through chats, forums and Twitter.

A big thank-you and lots of love to all those who follow my blog or even just visit occasionally.

xxx

PS Stay tuned, I will be posting throughout the day. I have lots of exciting things planned. And don’t forget the contest for 3 people to win a 5-page critique from both Peevish Penman and myself ends today, but if you’re quick you can still enter: Blogiversary Contest Details

PPS Don’t forget to pop over and wish a Happy Blogiversary to Peevish Penman too: Peevish Penman. Happy Blogiversary Carrie!

Helpful Writing Sites and Blog Posts – July 2010 Edition

I just realised it’s been two months since I last did one of these, so here is a round up of some helpful writing sites and blog posts I’ve come across in the past two months:

You Have to Believe

Rachelle Gardner (literary agent) has a great blog, with lots of fantastic posts for writers. This particular post was quite an inspiring one encouraging writers to believe in themselves. My favourite line: “God gave you something powerful – a story or a message, and the desire to share it. God is not in the business of tricking people, or of squandering anything – not talent, not passion, not time. Pursue your God-given passions with an unwavering faith. Praise and bless the obstacles. And keep believing.”

Tips for Pitching and Querying Agents

YA writer Ingrid Sundberg shared a hand-out from Andrea Brown agent Mary Kole that she received at an SCBWI agent day on pitching and querying. It includes some great advice, as well as step-by-step questions you should address in your pitch.

Try This Picture Book Editing Checklist

For anyone out there writing or editing a picture book this is a great checklist to refer to, from the editors of Children’s Book Insider, the Newsletter for Children’s Writers.

Will Literary Agents Really Read Your Query Letter?

This posts covers reasons why a query letter may not be read, the problems with many queries and some tips on how to write better queries.

The Power of the First Sentence

We all know how important that first sentence is in a manuscript, Brenda Hineman, a freelance writer, guest posts on this blog on what makes an opening sentence memorable.

Eleven Senses – Who Knew?

Anyone who reads my blog knows how much I’m a big fan of ‘show, don’t tell’ in writing, and whenever I talk about showing in writing I refer to using the five senses of taste, touch, sight, sound and smell. This workshop handout covers eleven senses, including pain, balance, sense of time, joint motion and acceleration, temperature differences, and direction. Not only does it describe how each of the senses work, but how they can be applied to writing, some writing exercises and, best of all, a comprehensive list of verbs for each of the senses to spice up your writing.

7 Techniques for a Dynamite Plot

An editor offers some solutions to common problems writers have when constructing their plot.

The Secret to Getting Published

Published author Karen Gowen offers some down-to-earth truths on what is and isn’t the secret to getting published. My favourite line: “You have to want it more than you want anything else. You must want it with every fibre of your being.”

3 Ways to Show, Don’t Tell

There’s my favourite writing mantra again! A short post covering verbs and nouns, sensory details and dialogue.

Query Letter Suicide

Another great post from YA Writer Ingrid Sundberg, this time sharing some advice from Agent Jill Corcoran of the Herman Agency. A comprehensive list of what not to do in a query letter.

Do You Know the Real Reason Not to Use the Passive Voice?

The dreaded ‘passive’ voice. It’s something I’m working on cutting in my novel revisions at the moment. This post by an editor shows an example of the difference between using the passive voice and the active voice when writing.

Advice for New Writers Blogfest

Last week I participated in Peevish Penman’s blogfest on ‘My Best Advice for New Writers’. There were 42 participants altogether. I haven’t quite got through reading all the posts yet, but the ones I have read have offered some fantastic advice. You can find the links to all of them on the Blogfest page, they’re well worth checking out.

Writing a Picture Book Query

_S070083-1 by nuttakit

For those of you who have been following my progress in the smories.com competition with my picture book entry ‘Can You Jump Like a Kangaroo‘ I have some good news to share. The competition ended two days ago and my story came in third! It may not have been first, but I was still extremely happy to win a place. Now I am preparing to query the story to publishers.

Writing a Picture Book Query: The Dilemma

I frequent quite a few agent and writing blogs and have collected a plethora of information on querying, however now I am faced with writing a query for a picture book I’ve found all my previous research on queries, which has primarily focused on querying novels, is not quite adequate for writing a PB query. I sat at my computer with a word document open, typed the initial salutation and then stopped. I know how to condense a 50k + word novel into a paragraph, I’ve written and rewritten queries for my YA novel many times over, but how do I write a paragraph summary of a picture book that’s only 147 words?

Sourcing Blogs for Query Writing Tips

I checked out a few picture book queries kidlit agent Mary Kole had commented upon on her blog during a query competition she held a while back to get some ideas (she has since removed these posts, but she has another post on picture book queries here, which I’ve also linked below). Through looking at these examples with comments from an agent who specialises in kidlit I was able to gain some insight into how a pictures book plot can be written in a query letter. I discovered channeling the voice of the book was a good first step. I wrote out my query with a better idea on how I could approach describing the story, but I still wasn’t sure if I was hitting the mark.

Seeking the Opinions of Those Who Have Written Successful Queries

I decided to seek out the opinions of two lovely Australian picture book authors I met through #pblitchat on Twitter. Kathryn Apel is the author of picture book This is the Mud and Karen Collum is the author of several picture books including one due out this September titled Samuel’s Kisses. I regard them both as being great sources of knowledge on all things PB related. They both gave me some great advice on writing a PB query. Here are the main points they made:

– Capture the heart and tone of your story in the query.

– Use small section of text from your book.

– Keep it short and sweet, one to two paragraphs is enough.

– Give the whole story in a nutshell, including the ending.

Armed with this great advice I shaped my query to match more with the tone of my story, with some little excerpts from the text weaved into it.

Query Critique

My query still needs some polishing so I’ve submitted it to the Query Kick-Around on YA Lit Chat (which also accomodates other types of kidlit, including picture books) and hopefully I’ll receive some helpful critique from some of the other members there.

Next step: Sending the queries to publishers here in Australia. I’ve got a list of a few of the publishers currently accepting unsolicited manuscripts for picture books, so hopefully one of them will love my story enough to publish it.

UPDATE:

Since I wrote this post a few sites/blogs have popped up with some helpful information on writing picture book queries, so I thought it might be helpful to update this post with some links.

Mary Kole on kidlit.com made a post specifically on how to write a picture book query: Picture Book Queries

The Query Shark bites into a picture book query: Query Shark #178

Looking for PB query critiques? The Write on Con forums have a section specifically dedicated to critiquing PB queries. Registration is free at the time of this post and it’s a site well worth joining if you’re a kidlit writer: Write on Con

Here is a helpful webinar video from Write on Con with Emma Walton Hamilton (aka The Query Whisperer): Picture Book Query Letters.

ANOTHER UPDATE:

Another great resource that’s cropped up in the last few years is the 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge. As well as providing great resources on picture book queries, you also get access to webinars from industry professionals that sometimes include helpful information on crafting picture book queries and even sometimes opportunities to have your query critiqued by a professional (such as the fabulous Emma Walton Hamilton). There is also access to a query critique forum where you can receive critique from fellow (often experienced) PB writers on your picture book query. While it does cost to join 12 x 12, it is a worthwhile investment for picture book writers who are serious about submitting to agents and editors. 12 x 12 is open to new members from about mid-January through to the end of February.

UPDATE (Feb 2016):

I’ve recently come across a post on picture book query writing from agent Maria Vicente of P.S. Literary Agency. She offers three great tips specific to picture book queries. You can find the post here: How to Query a Picture Book.

Picture by nuttakit

Can You Jump Like A Kangaroo?

I have some exciting news to share today. I mentioned not long ago that a children’s picture book story I submitted to smories.com was shortlisted. All the shortlisted stories have now been filmed and posted to the site. You can see my story here:

Can You Jump Like A Kangaroo?

Submissions have just closed for their third and final competition, but they will be starting something new. Once competition three is over they will be posting a story a day on the site. Submissions are now open for anyone who wants to submit a children’s story to be featured as one of the stories a day. While you don’t win anything for these stories, it’s great exposure for you as a writer. You can even set up your own author bio page on the site. Here is a link to their submissions page:

smories.com

NaPiBoWriWee: Now it’s over

What a busy week! NaPiBoWriWee officially ended at midnight on Friday. (See Paula Yoo’s NaPiBoWriWee 2010 wrap-up blog post here) I managed to get four and a half picture books written. It wasn’t the seven I was aiming for, but I’m still quite happy with what I got written. It was a great learning process. If you think writing a picture book a day is easy, it’s not! I learned that putting myself into my son’s world is a great way to find inspiration for picture book stories. I also learned that asking a three-year-old for ideas is not such a great idea (My story about a red button, a lion, a kitchen and a girl was a huge flop). A couple of my stories are still quite rough, and I didn’t finish the story idea my 3-year-old suggested because it just wasn’t working for me. One of the stories I really quite like and I want to revise it and polish it up at some point. For now though I’m going back to revisions on my novel.

For those who participated you may be wondering what you can do with those picture books you wrote during NaPiBoWriWee. I mentioned in an earlier post a website called smories.com where every month picture book writers have the opportunity to submit a picture book story. The best 50 are chosen and videos of children reading them are posted on the site. I just found out my picture book “Can You Jump Like A Kangaroo” has been shortlisted this month and the video of a child reading it will be posted on the site on the 1st of June! If you want to submit a picture book story to their newest competition just go here:

Submit a story

If you know of any other picture book opportunities I would love for you to tell us about them in the comments.

I would also love to hear how others did  for NaPiBoWriWee. Did you get 7 books written in 7 days? Or, like me, did you find real life made it difficult to find the time to get them all done? Maybe your muse left you halfway through. Did you learn anything along the way?

*icon from Paula Yoo’s blog