Getting Back Into the Writing Groove!

My friend, Kristin Bartley Lenz, shares some sage writing advice in this week’s Mitten blog post:

The Grown-Up Version of What I Did This Summer, or How I Rediscovered My Writing Mojo

Kristin is the author of YA novel, THE ART OF HOLDING ON AND LETTING GO (Elephant Rock Productions, September 2016). The book was a Junior Library Guild Fall 2016 Selection and chosen for the 2017-2018 Great Lakes Great Books statewide literature program. Kristin’s success led to lots of speaking engagements and a flurry of activity as the book gained popularity. But what’s a newly-minted author to do when the process of promoting a book zaps your energy and leaves you feeling unable to write anything new? Kristin answers this important questions and more in this fabulous post that provides an honest perspective. Hope you enjoy it!

You can Learn more about Kristin at www.kristinbartleylenz.com.

 

Coming Soon on Sensibility and Sense. . . a fall picture book critique special and giveaway! Stay tuned!

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The Science of a Fiction Picture Book (#STEAM) by Leslie Helakoski

Fabulous post on the Nerby Book Club today by my friend, Leslie Helakoski! Leslie talks about adding #STEAM to fiction picture books! Great job Leslie!

Nerdy Book Club

Even a fictional picture book can engage young minds in scientific thought. Comparing and contrasting are great tools for learning and what better way to explore this concept than a fun story?

 

HOOT & HONK Just Can’t Sleep began as an exploration of a nocturnal owlet, sleeping during the day and active at night, and a diurnal gosling, with the opposite schedule. But as the story developed, the chicks ended up in each other’s nest and I took comparing and contrasting to a new level. Beyond physical characteristics and sleep patterns, the story delves into the two birds’ activities and showcases the side-by-side patterns of the chicks’ days and nights.

This set-up allows for comparing several concepts: sunrise/sunset, nocturnal/diurnal, dark/light, sleep/wake, open/close, up/down, moon/sun and herbivore/carnivore all inside the lyrical story of two displaced chicks finding their way home.

The illustrations make the compare/contrast structure stronger. The reader sees…

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To my friends who write for teens

I love this post from my dear friend, Vicky Lorencen, so much that I wanted to share it with you! Hope you all are having a wonderful summer. I’m enjoying having my girls home for a few more weeks before we are official “empty-nesters.” Maybe that’s why this post resonated with me so much today. Hope it speaks to you and then you speak to some lonely, lovable and wonderful teenager through your own words and writings.

Welcome to Frog on a Dime

Dear Friends Who Write for Teens,

new frog background Collage by Vicky Lorencen

Car-less high schoolers in my neighborhood must meet at a bus stop a stone’s throw from my house. I heard them gathering this morning as I lay in bed. A loud-mouth girl shouted to her friends down the street. Other kids laughed. And although I didn’t peek out my bedroom window, I imagine there was at least one stoic kid standing solo in a sweat-drenched cocoon, clutching a sack lunch.

I rolled over on my pillow and thought about those kids. My heart went out to all of them, to the loners for certain, but truly to each of them, even Ms. Loud-Mouth. I knew that once they boarded that bus, they were headed to an emotional meat grinder. Part of me wanted to open my window and yell, “Listen! There’s some important stuff you need to know!” and then I’d talk as fast as…

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Rhyme Revolution 2017 Day 16 ~ Helen Docherty ~ Rhyme Schemes

Helen Docherty, author of The Snatchabook and many others, talk about rhyme scheme and how to use it to set the mood and pacing in your stories. Another great post in Angie Karcher’s Rhyme Revolution!

Angie Karcher

Red StarsThe Storybook Knight

The Story Book Knight

Written and Illustrated by

Helen and Thomas Docherty

2016 Best in Rhyme Award Top 10

Congratulations Helen and Thomas!

2016-best-in-rhyme-logo

See the Top 20 Best in Rhyme Books for 2016

One blue star

Rhyme Schemes

By Helen Docherty, author of The Snatchabook

and The Storybook Knight

I’m going to start with a confession: I never actually set out to write in rhyme. The first stories I wrote were in prose. But when the idea for The Snatchabook came to me – and it came pretty much fully formed – the story itself seemed to dictate that it should be written in verse. I knew that I had to create an atmosphere of suspense and mystery, and to draw the reader in from the very beginning of the story. Writing in rhyme seemed an effective and natural way to achieve this.

Helen 1

One dark, dark night in Burrow Down,

A rabbit called…

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Rhyme Revolution 2017 Day 11 ~ Deborah Underwood ~ Musicality of Words

Ever hear music in your head when writing in rhyme? Well, you should! Deborah Underwood shares this important rhyming advice in today’s Rhyming Revolution post. Great stuff Angie and Deborah!

Angie Karcher

Red StarsGoodnight

Goodnight, Baddies

by Deborah Underwood

Illustrated by Juli Kangas

2016 Best in Rhyme Award Top 10

Congratulations Deborah!

2016-best-in-rhyme-logo

See the Top 20 Best in Rhyme Books for 2016

One blue star

Musicality of Words

by Deborah Underwood

For many years, I sang with a chamber choir that performed new compositions. This was a joy—and sometimes a challenge. On occasion, we’d sing through a newly-composed piece for the first time and it would be obvious that the composer was used to writing for instruments, not voices.

The giveaway? The word stresses and the musical stresses didn’t align, making the text difficult to sing.

If you tap out the musical beats while singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” you’ll see that the beats line up with the accented syllables of the words. Because of this, singing the song is natural and easy:

ROW, ROW, ROW your BOAT, GENT-ly DOWN the STREAM
Now substitute text that…

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Rhyme Revolution 2017 Day 7 ~ Author Sue Fliess ~ It’s NOT About the Rhyme!

Totally reblogging this for my own sake. We all need this reminder that story comes first, always! Thanks Sue and Angie!

Angie Karcher

Red Stars

A Fairy Friend

by Sue Fliess

Illustrated by Claire Keane

2016 Best in Rhyme Award Top 20

Congratulations Sue!

2016-best-in-rhyme-logo

See the Top 20 Best in Rhyme Books for 2016

One blue star

It’s NOT About the Rhyme!

By Sue Fliess

It’s not about the rhyme. It never is. Well, at least, it never should be.  But what it always is about is the story. Or at a very basic level, it’s about the idea you’re trying to convey with words. Writers should think of rhyme as a mechanism or tool—just as illustrations, free verse, graphics, photography, or prose are all ways of telling a story.

My readers ask me all the time, why do you like writing in rhyme? or why do you write in rhyme? And what I tell them is that I always first have an idea or concept for a story. I jot down those ideas, characters, or fragments. When…

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Rhyme Revolution 2017 Day 5 ~ Sharon Chriscoe ~ Writers, Start your Engines!

Another great Rhyme Revolution post! Author Sharon Chriscoe shares her plot arc process:)

Angie Karcher

Red Stars

Race Car Dreams

Race Car Dreams

by Sharon Chriscoe

Illustrated by Dave Mottram

2016 Best in Rhyme Award Top 20

Congratulations Sharon!

2016-best-in-rhyme-logo

See the Top 20 Best in Rhyme Books for 2016

One blue star

Writers, Start Your Engines!

By Sharon Chriscoe

In many ways writing is like racing. There’s the starting line (the beginning), the race (the middle), and the finish line (the end). If we’ve done our jobs well as a storytellers, our books will zoom right into the victory lane of our readers’ hearts.

One of the most important ways to achieve this goal is with a strong story arc. For us rhymers, there is no difference between a story arc for rhyme versus prose. Story ALWAYS comes first. The rhymes should feel natural, and they should work to enhance your story arc.

Here’s a nice visual I like to use when working on my story arc:

All story arcs begin at the

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Rhyme Revolution 2017 Day 2 ~ Jill Esbaum ~ Is Your Rhymer Ready?

Another fabulous Rhyming Revolution post! Jill Esbaum encourages writers to revise, revise and revise again. Every word counts, especially when they rhyme!

Angie Karcher

Red Stars

Teeny Tiny Toady

by Jill Esbaum

Illustrated by Keika Yamaguchi

2016 Best in Rhyme Award Top 10

Congratulations Jill!

2016-best-in-rhyme-logo

See the Top 20 Best in Rhyme Books for 2016

One blue star

Is Your Rhymer Ready?

7 Troubleshooting Tips

by Jill Esbaum

Writing a character-driven rhyming story isn’t for the weak of heart. Rhyming stories must have perfect rhyme, consistent rhythm, and a story that not only makes sense, but connects with readers emotionally. Oh, and they should be FUN! Of those three things––rhyme, rhythm, and story––the toughest to get right, at least for me, is STORY.

Gleaned from many years of critiquing and writing, here’s a checklist you might use to determine whether or not your story is ready for editorial eyes, along with troubleshooting tips.

  1. Have I introduced the conflict quickly? Is my main character’s (MC) problem/goal clear to

readers on the first or second page?

If you worry you may…

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Rhyme Revolution 2017 Day 1 ~ Lori Mortensen ~ Rhythm and Rhyme

I’m participating in Angie Karcher’s Rhyming Revolution this month, so I thought I’d share the posts I find most inspiring. This one, by Lori Mortensen is chock full of great rhyming advice. Enjoy!

Angie Karcher

Red StarsClyde Award Image

COWPOKE CLYDE RIDES THE RANGE

by Lori Mortensen

Illustrated by Michael Allen Austin

2016 Best in Rhyme Award Winner

Congratulations Lori!

2016-best-in-rhyme-logo

See the Top 20 Best in Rhyme Books for 2016

One blue star

RHYTHM AND RHYME

By Lori Mortensen

If you’ve ever delved into rhyme, you know rhyming can be a complicated business.  Not only is there a boatload of elements to consider such as true rhymes, near rhymes, forced rhymes, end rhymes, and internal rhymes, but there’s also a slew of specific rhyming patterns with names like iamb, trochee, anapest, dactyl, and spondee. (If you know these terms, you definitely deserve some extra rhyming brownie points!)

The good news is–you don’t have to know these terms to write fun, frolicking stories in rhyme.

For me, writing in rhyme is all about the rhythm.  As a former dance major, I’m drawn to the rhythm of the words and the beat they create…

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PGWRites Critiques- “IN LIKE A LION, OUT LIKE A LAMB,” CRITIQUE SPECIAL

For the entire month of March, I’m offering a free “Second Look” with any PGWRites Picture Book Critique! That’s right, a free second look for no additional charge (a $25.00 value). Just follow the payment and submission instructions on the PGWRites Critiques page, and when you’ve revised your manuscript after your initial critique, I’ll take a second look for free! 

Click here PGWRites Critiques or on the tab above for more information!

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