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Monday, July 28, 2008

What I Learned at the Writing For Charity Conference.

On Saturday July 19th I was able to attend a Writing for Charity Conference at the Salt Lake City Library. It was so good. Shannon Hale introduced a panel of other writers who were there to mentor all the wanna be's and she did a great job with her quick wit and her fun attitude. The best part was that my good friend Ali Cross was there and I got to go to lunch with her and another friend (Jennifer Wilks) from our Authors Incognito group. We met new friends there as well, which is always a bonus at a conference like this one.
Some of the new things that I picked up were:

- When you get in a writing slump - Go back and read amazing writing - give yourself a word buzz.

- Really do your homework - Make your cover letter to a publisher stellar.

- The website cbcbooks.org can help you find what publishers are publishing and what is out there right now. On this blog, under Links for Children's Writers, you can go directly to cbc books by clicking on Children's Book Council.

- A publisher should be asking himself who will I sell this to, and why will they buy it. You should be asking yourself those questions when you write it.

- Cover all of your bases. Be aggressive. Send your manuscripts all over. Don't necessarily be daunted by the words unsolicited manuscripts only.

- Check the readability level of your manuscript.

- If you are writing a children's picture book, ask yourself "How many times can a parent stand to read this to their child out loud?"

- Look for ly words - they will show you when you are telling and not showing.
ie) Jeff ran out angrily. Change to - Jeff stomped out and slammed the door.

So there you have it. My two cents from the conference. And it even rhymes if you say it right.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Story Teller

I just returned from Canada by way of the Black Hills. We stopped at Custer's Last Stand National Monument and heard the most informative, animated, storyteller. What an amazing account she told. She could have just read from a brochure or rattled off facts and figures, but she used her hands, her voice and her expressions to bring the telling of a great historic event to life. It was a good forty minutes long, but the time flew by. Her facial features were Native American and she used a good deal of Native American sign language to accentuate her story. Someone really got it right when they assigned her to be the message giver. She certainly got the message across. I guess there is more than one way to tell a story.
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