Blog Report # 8

So with NaNoWriMo starting, and being weeks away from finals, I’ve had quite the busy week or so.  For one, I barely have a NaNo started, but that’s my own personal dilemma.  So, this week we turned in a ten page exert of our “YA Novel” for workshop and peer review.  I’m pretty proud of  the story I have started (and the fact that I came up with it in 30 minutes, a rare event in my story planning).  Now, if I’m actually going to write the next chapter and continue the book, that’s another question altogether.

 

Blue Rose Girls

I was going through their archives and found this post.  I’m an artist as much as I am a writer, and I really liked this post about References.  Actually, just last week we discussed in class how artists and writer’s alike need to use references to paint adequate details in either a painting, or a piece of writing.  ( the example given was doodling a room and using that for reference when writing about said room ) It’s also a brilliant way to show others, who aren’t familiar with the process of writing/drawing, how a person can make certain images so clear to their reader/viewer.

Editorial Anonymous

This was a really great post about publishing a book.  It’s also one I’m sure I’ll encounter when (if) I write my amazing novel of amazing-ness.  I alway love how Anonymous is very to the point, and this post was no different.  If you publish with one house, its possible that you will be published by another house if you switch writing genres.  Or, in the case of Stephen King, your name becomes too associated with a specific genre and you must make a pen name in order to publish your works.  Okay, I realize it’s pretty rare to become as big as Mr. King, but in the event that it may happen, you have been warned.

Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

This is a wonderful post about children’s books.  Reading to children has become more of a tedious chore for schools, and most only allow “lesson” picture books to be read to their students.  This kills reading, since its “something shared by book, child and adult.” Although the blogger is only speaking about the impact of the reading, I’m looking into getting a copy of this book for myself.  And then I’m going to buy another copy, and if I approach anyone that is going to teach children, or even just read to children, I’ll be handing out a piece of advice and this book.

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Blog Report #7

Overview:

Didn’t have a week of classes, so that was a nice vacation.  Read more of the book from class, and I love the tips that the author gives.  She has a lot of examples of what to do to create a good setting and plot to carry a story.  I’ll be working on these on my own time to get that story for class done.

 

Editorial Anonymous

Anonymous makes a few valid points about self-publishing.  There’s no editor, or publishing house, to go through to get your book out there.  And before eReaders, it was much more expensive to try to get your book on the market by yourself.  Though, I think there are a lot of really good self-published works out there.  I have also found out that there are freelace editors that a self-publish author can pay to have their book looked over.  I’m not saying that the shit that is self-published (mostly free/0.99 books on the Kindle, a side-effect of their self-publishing app) is getting any better, but I think there are authors that wouldn’t have been published any other way if they hadn’t tried self-publishing first.  As far as publishing for myself, I think I’ll try publishing houses before resorting to self-publishing.

 

Blue Rose Girls

I’m pretty sure this post was put up as a joke.  It has some silly motions.  Sadly, as silly as some are, they are kind of true. Many people aren’t really noticed unless they are networking in other areas (celebrity, writing articles, etc.).  This doesn’t mean you have to suddenly change your job to reporter to get your stuff out there, and it definitely doesn’t mean that you have to start self-publishing.  You just have to readily advertise and start getting a sort of readership.  If your readership gets big enough, you may (or may not) have an editor or agent see your work.  So basic idea? Advertise.

Side note: I think there’s a lot of misconception about being published in a publishing house as far as advertising goes.  You still have to do the same amount of advertising for yourself to get your book out there and to increase sells as you would if you self-published.  The only difference is that you (might) have someone in the publishing house helping by putting you on author signings…. if your lucky.  Oh, and you might have your book on a hidden shelf in barnes and noble… maybe.

 

Seven Impossible Thing to do Before Breakfast

This just reminds me of how many authors make it huge from one book, and it seems that the books following are either too much like the first, or have a terrible narrative.  It’s much like how readers can tell when an author is trying to milk more money out of their fans and not truly caring about giving quality work.  I’m not saying Mr. Palahniuk is doing this on purpose, and it could just be that his style has changed.  I’ve just read a lot of books (that often become series) and they deteriorate in quality per novel.  The story loses flare, the author forgets their character, or the book appears to only be published as filler.  A lesson can be learned from this though.  As a writer, I know what my readers will expect of me from my own reader experiences.  Consistency creates a stronger fan base more than making sure a book comes out every year.

Blog Report #6

Just a realization that’s been going on since class started:

This last week we started going into detail about what made a plot and the characters.  It seems that more and more that I learn about other genres of writing, they all encompass the same techniques.   The only difference is the execution.

Blue Rose Girls

I could really relate to this.  The worries, the enjoys, the everything.  It’s really nice to see that other’s have the same uncomfortable feelings about it as well.  It’s like when you have that internal editor that refuses to hush and let you just write.  I’m actually thinking of writing a list of my own worries and then burning it.  Maybe then my little editor voice will disappear with those worries for a time.  It would be nice to write in peace.

Editorial Anonymous

I’ve always wondered what would happen to my piece, after it’s been placed into the slush pile.  Even though Eidtorial Anonymous doesn’t specify, it’s easy to see what she/he means.  Once you pile goes to the slush, its probably forgotten about, and more specifically, either put on fire or shredded.  It’s sad to think of all that hard work turning into dust, but it’s understandable.  Once you’re in someone’s slush, you’re no longer of any importance to them.

Cynsations

So glad this post exists.  These are some definitely awesome tips.  I hope I can one day to get to the point where I can use these tips.  Actually, I already have a plan ready.  Whatever I’m going to write, I will make it my goal to dress like a character from my story.  I dunno, it would make an excellent talking piece, and hey, who doesn’t like to see an author that loves her characters as much as her readers?  Or I’ll find a cookie jar, that talks… mwahaha!

But back to the post.  I feel like I should link to it for my other author friends.  I’ve noticed these things done really well at some signings, and at others… well.. lets just say I have some excellent examples of what NOT to do. 🙂

Blog Report #5

Cynsations

It’s not exactly on her direct website, but its still the same author.  Here she speaks of something that I know a lot of my friends and I struggle with: Time Management.  Even I dream of a day or year when I’ll be able to do nothing but write a little bit and then finally I’ll have some free time.  But alas, it will never work out that way.  There will be free time, but only after an articulate list of deadlines has been completed.

 

Editorial Anonymous

This just reminded me of a topic we discussed in class one day.  Adults buy children’s books, and sometimes they buy the books that the child doesn’t necessarily care about. (yet the adult loves the book)  Children’s books have this uncanny ability to lure in new writers with inaccurate context.  While yes, the writer should appeal to the children, they have to also create a work that appeals to the adults as well.  To do this, a story needs to have layers as well as an entertaining and “frivolous” plot.  To create layers, a writer can insert the alphabet or counting, or they can add a well-hidden moral to the story (such as “don’t whine” or “don’t be a tattle-“tale).   And it CAN’T be obvious to the child that they are being taught or told a lesson.  I have to say that’s the trickiest part.  Children’s books, while having the word “child”, are not easy.  If anything they are harder because they are for children.

 

Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

I love this post, especially for the fact that this illustrator is undiscovered, but her art is so beautiful.  Plus, this site is so popular I’m sure the illustrator will have no problem finding some work soon.  (I hope anyways)  I also really like this post for the fact that it gives me hope that even illustrators that are new to the business will soon find work if their artwork is powerful enough. (I hope).

Blog Report #4

Blue Rose Girls

I really liked this post about editing.  it actually helped me realize some things that I could do to better help my own edits.  Plus, since I frequently edit others works (friends online and off) plus my own, its intriguing to see how others do the same.  As much as I love writing, I seem to find myself loving to edit as well.  As a writer, I’d like to think that enjoying both is a part of the whole scheme of being amazing at what I do.

Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

I really enjoyed this post, since it maps out an illustrators journey to get the correct picture/sketch for the finished project.  Looking though all the photos, I have to admire the creativity of the illustrator.  This definitely displays how it takes both illustrator and author to create a wonderful picture book.

Editorial Anonymous

This post is extremely helpful.  I’ve heard of there being false agencies, but I was never certain how to find them, or what site to look to that would be creditable in its findings of bad agencies.  Well, Editorial Anonymous answers these questions.  Though, I have to wonder at the writer that asked the question.  I would hope that someone would try to look up the people that they are giving their works to instead of just eagerly handing over their sweat, blood, and tears.  But I can also understand the eagerness in which one would be persuaded into doing so.  It doesn’t take much to try to scam an over-eager writer to handing over their work with the promise of it being published.

 

Blog Report #3

Blue Rose Girls

This post reminds me that I should always be looking for inspiration. It definitely seems like it would be very beneficial to just step away from the computer, for one.  I have to wonder, if I was only allowed paper and pen to write my stories (a way I prefer anyways), and I had no inspiration but my life experiances, I wonder how it would affect my writing.  Unfortunately, with my classes depending on many things to do with the internet, I guess I’ll have to wait to experiment at a later date, maybe when I have a week vacation.

 

A Fuse #8 Production

With this review, its easy to see how children’s fiction can be done.  She depicts a lot from this children’s  book, and its pretty easy to see that with her review how a story can be formed.  Not only that, but the things that she points out about this book are ones that every good writer needs to include in a strong story.

 

Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Although this post doesn’t have much to it, I’d like to just put it as a link here for now.  I’m pretty interested in this book also.  The cover alone is what makes me so interested, and I’m thinking that’s what will get the kiddos looking at it to.

 

Cynsational

One thing I really like about this blog is its ability to keep up with the up and coming novels.  And somehow this author finds the time to write!  Its extremely impressive.  Anywho, I choose this blog because its one of her most recent, and since I hate having to scroll through tons of text, I picked it.  Ya, I know I’m lazy.  This post has a little summary of everything that’ll be coming out soon, and I’m actually pretty excited for some of the titles.

 

Blog Report #2

Blue Rose Girls

I actually find this really interesting.  J.K. Rowling has made it so that her ebooks are being distributed by herself.  I’m glad she has the money to be able to do this, but it makes me wonder if digital distributing is starting to turn toward more the writer’s favor. Maybe one day the individual writer will be able to put their own books out there with no extra money being taken out by a retailer.

I know that it seems that more and more writers are taking the self-published ebook route, but to take out the retailer of one’s books completely is an interesting idea.  I wonder how it will transform in the next few years.

Seven Things to do Before Breakfast

For one, I find it funny that husband and wife, even though they live together and are married, don’t collaberate on any pieces that they do together.  I find this interesting, but professional.  They want to keep to how the things in illustrator/writer world operates the same.

I love how the writer drew her inspiration from the experiances she had, and I know that’s the classic rule of writing.  It’s just odd to think of applying the same concept to children’s literature.  Maybe I’m thinking too much like an adult and not enough like a child.

Editorial Anonymous

Even though this post is old, the facts still stand.  I was wondering not long ago if I would need an agent, or if I could do it on my own without one.  After reading, I find that I probably will need an agent.  I’m terrible with deadlines, or keeping to deadlines, and I’m just the kind of person that needs a constant, reinforced sense of responsibility to finish my novel.  I think the advice here is pretty standard, and being fully convinced, I’ll be paying more attention to what agents want to see. (and how to grab their attention.  Can’t be too hard, right?)

Cynsations

Another interview.  Again, its truly inspiring to see other writers, or published authors, talking about their process.  It helps me figure out a different thing that I could do to my routine to start the juices flowing.  At times, its hard to find a set time to actually write.  And even then, I find more joy in writing About writing than actually writing.  I blame this hiatus and where I am in life right now as my reason.

But whatever excuse I choose, I can put myself in another writer’s shoes.  E.M. Kokie’s shoes are the ones I’m trying on today.  She states that she writes whenever she can, and when she’s not writing she’s keeping it fresh with research and revising.  I’ve done the same before, but I always fail at keeping a draft “warm.” Also, I love when I’ve actually got a draft done (verses E.M.Kokie’s love of revision), and actually writing it can stress me out quite a bit.  But then once I have that draft finished, I can look at the words with satisfaction that I finally wrote that scene that’s plagued me for months.

Typical Story Frame

Children’s books are essentially cornered around a question and answer.  I could also dare to say that most fiction is like this, only because of its freedom in length, it tends to have more than just one question and answer.

In Ann Whitford Paul’s book, she states that all children’s books need a question and answer at the base of the story’s “House Frame.” Questions also help the writer keep focus on their work.  Without a definite question to work upon answering in their picture book, writers tend to lose sight of what they want to do and they sway to other questions.

Children have a very short attention span, and because of this, its essential that a writer pick a question and then work with only that one question.  I’ve actually been like many other writers and have fallen into the “too many conflicts” area of writing.  I tend to want to add so much to my character and their story that I forget that I need to focus on only one conflict at a time.  ( my novel in progress is suffering because of my lack of attention to one thing at a time, but I’m getting better.)

Ann Whitford Paul also mentions that there should be multiple levels to a picture book.  Basically, the writer wants to make it so that her book will appeal to adult and children audiences.  Mike Reiss’s The Boy Who Looked Like Lincoln  has excellent content and moral, but it seems to be more aimed at adults.  This book was read aloud in class by my professor, and in the next class a couple of the other students mentioned that the book wasn’t well liked by the children that they read it to.  The story itself is excellent, but it is definitely aimed at older children, say closer to the 7/8 year old range, who might understand its quirky humor.

With learning these little tid-bits to make a children’s book have appeal, it appears every day my job gets harder.  I’m also learning that no matter what genre or audience you write for, there’s always going to be a set of qualifications that will need to be met on a basic level.  Children’s picture books, as deceiving as the word “child” is, are no different, and they are no where near as easy as you might think.

 

Believable Characters

So, like all writing, one of the key things is to have a character that’s believable.  To do this, there has to be a character study done ( well, its strongly suggested.  I’ve found that I have stronger characters when I use it ).  The use of this is so that you can understand your character and by understanding your character, you will create a more believable story.  For instance, if you weren’t certain about how your character would react to having their favorite blankie taken away, how can you expect your reader’s to?  

According to Ann Whitford Paul in Writing Picture Books, she states that there’s at least five things that you’ll need for a children’s book: name, birthdate age and time of story, appearance, relationships with others, and personality.  Combine all these things into one document, and you have the makings of everything you need to know about your character.

The idea behind a character study is to make it so your character will make plausible choices, and be relatable to the children/adults reading the story.  I think putting a character study in the works of creating a story will also make the story itself stronger.  Instead of spending hours trying to figure out if your character acts the same throughout your story, you would have already done that portion of the work.  I’d also like to think that even if you find that you actually won’t be using a certain character study for what you originally planned, you now have a character that you could pull into a different story.  So character studies aren’t all for naught.

Also, you can kinda see that this isn’t just for children’s books.  Its for other types of writing also, though I’m not sure poetry could be included into that statement. I mostly use character studies for the longer novel pieces that I’m working on.  I can also see the hesitance in doing a character study for a children’s book.  Why waste the time of making a character for a 32 page book?

Well, think of it this way: All characters need the same attention and depth to capture an audience, no matter how young they may be.

Blog Report #1

Blogs I read:

Blue Rose Girls
Our Sixes:

This post kind of reminded me of a previous lesson we learned in class.  There’s a rule of 3s, and a rule of 7s for plot.  Now there’s a twist of six.  At least, that’s the name I would give it. Basically it’s Faulkner’s thought that a novel or story should be about six things.  I like the idea of it, as it might increase the complexity of a story.

Cynsations
Career Builder: Phyllis Root

I really love the interview here.  Even though Phyllis Root is published, she still shares all the same thoughts of unpublished writers.  I also loved the fact that she’s a lot like me when writing.  While I’m writing, I feel satisfied and like I’m having the best day ever.  No matter what I write about, it tends to relieve my stress of my day.  I could even venture to say that its my glass of wine at the end of my day.

I’ve read quite a bit of interviews with published authors, and have even had the chance to ask them the questions myself.  Every time I find that while writers claim they all have a different way of coming up with their stories and characters, they all still tend to follow the same path.  They plan, write, plan some more, write more, plan, edit, write more, edit, and then maybe they finish.  I’ve heard several other writer’s say that they have written extensively about their characters in order to understand their character’s complexity.  I’ve done the same.  I actually have a notebook where about 5-10 pages are dedicated to me figuring out my character’s background and story and reasons for why she acts the way she does.

It’s also really reassuring that I’m not the only person on the lonely boat of writing and planning.  For some reason its comforting to know that there’s another writer out there and even though they may be published, they are still struggling to get their story on paper.

*As a side note, I also realized this blog was run by someone who I personally own a book of. Its title is Tantanlize, and I loved it when I read it.  So, I’m going to be very biased and read as much of this blog as I can.

Editorial Anonymous
A Sail to Every Wind

I actually find this article extremely intriguing.  I used to volunteer at a local library and I spent a lot of my time with the librarians there, so this article hits a little close to home, so to say.  I understand that publishing itself is turning toward the electronic, though I think there will always be a market for books.  There’s just something about the smell of paper and the texture of a page on one’s fingertips.

But the transfer to reading eBooks and using eReaders is inevitable, as is the use of eBook in a library.  While I understand that that the publishers are still trying to make money, I could also argue that libraries buy 1 or more books that are paper that have infinite check-out availability.  As for Haper’s current policy on eBooks, I can agree with Editorial Anonymous that it won’t last.  It will change, but the 26 check outs a purchase will not last.