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Connecting the Dots


Do you remember doing connect-the-dots pictures when you were small? It was usually with numbers, but sometimes it was the alphabet. There were a few squiggles on the page that were a part of the picture and you drew a line from number one to two and so on, until you reached the last number and completed the picture.

Dot-to-dot wasn’t really my favorite art activity as a child. It was kind of neat to find out what the picture was at the end, but it wasn’t very rounded out. You drew straight lines between the numbers, so there were no curves where curves should be. I suppose it might have been more interesting if you liked modern art.

I started to compare connect-the-dots to writing a picture book. It would be great if you could just connect the parts of a story and come out with a great finished book—going from character to setting to plot and resolution. But without the curves—rich language, attention to detail, action, dialogue, rhythm, repetition, and especially emotional connection—it falls flat.

I’m thinking that connecting the dots of the story are like my first draft. In my revisions, I add the curves. Maybe if you like modern art, dot-to-dot could work for you. But for me, I’ll take the curves.

Check back next week and help celebrate Poetry Month with author interviews and book give-aways. See you here!  Read More 
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Blogging—a Work in Progress

I admire those authors who blog two or three times a week. You would think that writing a blog post once a week, or even every two weeks, would be a ‘piece of cake.’ Maybe a ‘walk in the park’ would better describe it, depending on what kind of walk you take. A stroll? Not quite. Maybe more like a power walk, or a jog.

So what do I get out of blogging? And what does it have to do with writing?

When I blog I practice my writing skills. It’s on-the-spot, spontaneous— the kind that, like writing picture books, is not wordy and leaves you with something to think about.

Blogging gives me a deadline, which is the real challenge for me. My ‘spontaneous’ writing is not always my best.

I remind myself of goals, strategies, and good advice when I blog about them.

I keep up on things better when I blog, because I look for topics about children’s books and writing them to blog about. I find out which books have received awards or honors and which are on the best seller’s lists. I find events like Read Across America, Picture Book month and PiBoIdMo and other ways to celebrate writing and get motivated.

I check out other author blogs, and discover new things. I learn and get writing tips from their posts. And I connect with other children’s writers.

I guess it’s a good thing that I wrote this blog today, because I needed this reminder to keep up! I miss some weeks, but each new week is another chance to start over.

Poetry month is coming up, and I’ve got plans to celebrate with you here, including some author interviews in the works. So hang in there with me! I hope to see you next week!  Read More 
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