Are You Giffing Out?
But, gifs that don't have sound (like all normal gifs and not the ones that are in the Kmart commercials) can be pretty funny without being annoying.
So in the spirit of just pure holiday fun here is my
Gif List for Children's Books:
2. Where the Wild Things Are
3. Winnie the Pooh
4. Amelia Bedelia
Which book will you read over the holiday break? Go ahead! Comment below! :)
New Winter/Holiday Books of 2013
Snow Dog, Go Dog by Deborah Heiligman
Snow doesn't stop the Golden Retriever, Tinka. She runs and plays and sleds with her boy. But when her friend Millie the beagle shows up, off races Tinka. And she gets lost—till her boy finally rescues her. A companion to Fun Dog, Sun Dog and Cool Dog, School Dog.
Check out Deborah's other books at
Dear Santasaurus by Stacy McAnulty
It's January 1, but Ernest B. Spinosaurus is already dreaming of the present Santasaurus will bring him next Christmas. This means that Ernest will have to stay on Santasaurus' OniceO list all year long. But how will Santasaurus know? This hilarious countdown to Christmas is told through Ernest's 17 letters to Santasaurus.
Visit Stacy's website over at http://www.stacymcanulty.com/.
The Smallest Gift of Christmas
by Peter Reynolds
In Peter H. Reynolds’s whimsical holiday story, young Roland learns that more isn’t always better — and rediscovers the magic of home.
Roland can’t wait for Christmas Day, and when the morning finally arrives he races downstairs to see what is waiting for him. What he sees stops him in his tracks. Could that tiny present really be what he had waited all year for? It has to be the smallest gift he had ever seen! So Roland wishes for something bigger . . . and bigger . . . and bigger. But he’s still convinced there must be a bigger gift somewhere in the universe. Will he know it when he sees it? Peter H. Reynolds’s spare, free-spirited illustrations and heartwarming text make this be-carefulwhat-you-wish-for
story the perfect holiday gift.
Check out Peter's website at http://www.peterhreynolds.com/.
Which book will you check out this holiday season?
Best Picture Books of 2013
“If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
Yep! It's as simple as that. So, if you are going to write picture books, then you need to read them, right? And what better books to read than the best ones! Since it's getting close to the end of the year, many sites have come out with "The Best of 2013." I think every picture book writer should read hundreds of books, especially all of the classic ones. But it's very important to know what is currently selling, what the current trends are, and how picture books work today. Only knowing the classics puts you at a huge disadvantage for writing and selling picture books.
I just finished the PiBoIdMo challenge and there are many upcoming challenges this year for writers that I am really excited about. But there should be a reading challenge for writers. Take on the personal challenge of reading as many current picture books as you can.
In the document below, I've compiled many of the lists all in one place. The lists consist of ALA Awards, Amazon's Best Children's Books, New York Times Best Illustrated, New York Times Notable, Goodreads Choice Awards, School Librarian Journal Best of 2013, Huffington Post Best of 2013, NPR's Book Concierge, and Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2013. Take a look and see how many books on this list you've read.
And if you want all the lists in one, in alphabetical order, check out this document.
And just for fun, here is a list of the books that appeared on multiple lists. The number indicates the number of times it showed up on a list.
Are you up for the challenge? How many of the 2013 books have you read? 2014 is drawing near and will bring brand new must read picture books. So get reading!
Idea Bouncing and Plotting out Structure with a Pitch!
Saturday was the last day of PiBoIdMo. I feel sad, but I shouldn’t really. I gained so much from this month:
1. 40+ ideas for picture books (and at least 10 good ones.)
2. New ways of brainstorming.
3. New friendships and facebook friends that love writing and picture books as much as I do.
4. The knowledge that forcing yourself to sit down and write and brainstorm actually leads to completed writing and brainstorming. (Imagine that!)
5. And that actually doing it, doesn’t just lead to one idea…but the ideas seem to multiply and I start seeing ideas for picture books everywhere.
6. This awesome butt kicking post by author Kelly Light! Anytime I start feeling like I need a picture book pity party, I’m going to read this post and realize I don’t! http://taralazar.com/2013/11/23/piboidmo-day-23-kelly-light/
So where do we go from here?
Well, I’m going to be writing, writing, writing as much as I can.
Through plotting and idea bouncing. Some people may object to both of these things and have a totally different style of writing. But not me. I whole heartedly believe in both of them.
I have to be an outliner. Because I live my life so unstructured as it is, that if I’m lacking structure in my writing, I tend to wander in circles.
And the best way to plot is if you have someone to bounce ideas off of. Some people may say this is cheating. If someone helps you with the idea, then isn’t it sort of theirs too?
Well think of it this way.
You’ve written a manuscript. And you are sending it to your critique partner. And your critique partner sees lots of things that may need work. Perhaps the structure of your story isn’t there. Perhaps your character is lacking a want. Perhaps the way you wrote it is sending the wrong message.
So she gives you advice on how to fix it.
You do and Boom! It’s better.
Well, what’s the difference between having your critique partner give you suggestions on how to fix a manuscript that is already written, or having her give you suggestions on how to fix the ideas and structure of your manuscript before it is written?
Well, the main difference is time spent on writing. Why not get feedback, right from the start?
I have to say, luckily I found a great critique partner who is willing to do this. And I’m so happy I did. Because I was able to plot out 10 of my ideas so far, with her generous help.
Plotting your picture book with a logline or pitch first
The other thing that is helpful is writing a logline or pitch for your picture book before you even write it.
Loglines are structured. They typically follow a certain format. So if you can make your idea fit into the format, then basically you are setting yourself up for structured success for your picture book.
Here are the basic elements of a character based/ plot driven picture book:
Climax: (Something Changes or Big Happens)
Here is a generic pitch:
Character wants to do something but can’t because there are obstacles. But when something drastic changes or happens, the character is able to do something and solves the problem.
_________________________ wants to _______________________ but can’t because _____________________ .But when _____________________, he/she is able to_________________ and __________ .
Wodney Wat is a rodent with a lisp.
He just wants to blend in and not be picked on anymore but kids always make fun of him at school. But when Camilla Capybara comes to school and threatens all the rodents, he is able to outsmart Camilla in a game of Simon Says, sends her packing, and is never picked on again.
Now obviously there are other types of picture books, for example concept books. But this structure is for a character based, plot driven story.
So if you were like me and only came up with the name of character or a catchy title…try to take those ideas and plug them into a structure.
Then in December you will have several plots to work with and writing that manuscript will seem much easier to tackle.
So here is my challenge to you. Take 5 ideas. And use the document below to see if you can generically force them into 5 different pitches. These pitches don’t have to sound great right now, (worry about fixing them up for when you are submission ready.) For now, just get the basics in. The point is to help you see a full manuscript summarized in two sentences. Once you do that, the writing becomes easier. (Or so I find.)
We are so excited to be mixing things up at CBA, beginning with some delicious additions to the Blogfish. Meet our awesome bloggers!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays begin with awesome multi-published former student Shirin Shamsi who will be focusing on Muslim and cultural kidlit.
2nd Mondays will feature super smart Melissa Stoller whose career is taking off with several new books.
3rd Mondays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer, man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
4th Mondays will feature STEM, STEAM & SEL obsessed author Kourtney LaFavre sharing delightfully dorky, quirky, and fun info.
And 5th Mondays we'll be taking a break