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Creating Memorable Christmas Characters


December has been a great beginning to the Christmas season for us. Seeing the Christmas lights in Branson, a couple of familiar holiday stories, then dinner and a Christmas show kicked it off. Following that were two wonderful holiday meetings with writers. And seeing the grandkids in their school Christmas programs topped it all off!

There’s nothing like Christmas lights and the singing of carols to get you in a happy holiday spirit. Top that with the smell of cookies from the oven, the taste of hot chocolate, a cozy blanket throw and a holiday movie and you’ve got all the five senses covered! Ok, I’m back to thinking like a writer again.

I’m writing in between all of these Christmas ‘sens-ations’ because I know that if I stop for very long, it will be so much harder when I come back to it. (And because I’ve got the edits for some revisions of TOAD that I want to keep up with, too).

There are so many Christmas stories that we love to read or watch on video or TV year after year! I think it’s the characters that really make the stories so memorable. Here are a few to think about.

A song that the junior high school band played reminded me of this one. You might recognize the following words, taken randomly, from a well known Christmas song—

…you’re as cuddly as a cactus
…your brain is full of spiders
…you’re a nasty, wasty skunk
…your heart is full of unwashed socks
and so on, from “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”

Wow, what a guy! What great similes and metaphors.

Then there’s the familiar story of someone who’s left out because they’re different, and ends up saving the day—
who else, but “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer!”

Character drives the story. Rudolph is rather quiet, and it takes Santa to recognize his importance. But when you change your character, the story changes, too! When Rudolph is sick on Christmas Eve, he calls on his cousin Leroy to cover for him. Leroy shows up driving his pick-up truck and wearing a John Deere tractor hat.

Leroy is a more confident character. It’s his actions and appearance that show us his character. At the start, the other reindeer aren’t too sure about a reindeer who goes ‘two-stepping across the sky,’ and makes ‘jingle bells with a rebel yell.’ But he soon has them all ‘scootin’ a hoof on every single roof, by the light of a neon moon.’ It’s “Leroy the Red-Neck Reindeer!”

Think about “The Night Before Christmas,” and its many variations. Or “Snowmen at Night” and “Snowmen at Christmas.” Put the characters in a different setting and you have a new story.

Narrow in on a specific Christmas character and you might have come up with “Drummer Boy” (by Loren Long). Or focus on the animals in the barn instead of people on the first Christmas night and you might have written “The Animals’ Christmas Eve,” the Little Golden Book, by Gale Wiersum.

In “It’s a Wonderful Life” it’s the main character, George, who changes at the end of the story when Clarence, his guardian angel, helps him to see the impact that he made on many lives. The movie was based on the short story, “The Greatest Gift,” written by Philip VanDoren Stern in 1939. Unable to find a publisher, Stern sent his 21-page booklet to friends at Christmas in 1943. It was published in Readers’ Digest and Good Housekeeping magazines, and Stern privately published the story in 1945, when it came to the attention of producer David Hempstead. The movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” came out in 1946 and became one of the 100 best American films ever made.

Wishing you all wonderful Christmas characters, and a wonderful season of celebrating the holidays!  Read More 
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Thanksgiving Blessings—On Family, Friends and Writing


This year, as always, I’m most thankful for my family—my husband, my kids and extended family, too. I’m also thankful for friends—friends through the years of growing up (past and present), friends I’ve met through writing and through church. Some years I have other special things to be thankful for, and this is one of them.

Here are some special moments in my writing journey to be thankful for this year.

I’m very excited today to share my news that my picture book TOAD IN THE ROAD will be published by Schwartz & Wade (a division of Random House)! I’ve been sitting on this news for awhile, just waiting to be sure that it wasn’t going to ‘go away!’ You won’t see the book in bookstores for a couple of years yet, but it’s definitely coming! So I’m thankful for Anne Schwartz and for Anne Kelly at Schwartz & Wade who share my excitement and my vision for TOAD.

Last month I signed with agent Kirsten Hall of Catbird Agency! Kirsten is a children’s author, former editor of children’s books, as well as a picture book agent. We met at the Missouri SCBWI Fall conference at the end of September. After talking with her at the conference and later on the phone, I knew she would be a great agent for me, and we’re off to a good start! So I’m thankful for SCBWI, and for Kirsten, who has already been a blessing.

In October I talked about the SCBWI Work-in-Progress awards, and how TOAD IN THE ROAD won the award for picture book text—another thankful moment this year for my writing!

This year I have two board books that were published by Highlights for Children’s Let’s Grow book club for toddlers age 0 to 2 years. They are WHEELS GO ‘ROUND and A DAY AT THE ZOO. I’m thankful for editor Susan Hood who worked with me, and for Highlights for publishing my books—my first board books for children.

I’m also thankful for the author visits that I’ve had this year, visiting schools and events for children’s writers.

I want to add that these things did not happen without quite a bit of work and study over many years. In this year, I attended two small writing events and one major conference for children’s writers, one online conference and four webinars, and five local author events. I chose events that were for or by children’s writers, some where I would be able to submit my work to editors or agents following the event.

I participate in two critique groups every month with other children’s writers (unless I’m out of town). At these meetings we read each other’s manuscripts and give and receive valuable input on our writing and story. I also keep in touch with a group of writing friends from Indiana, and we sometimes critique each other’s manuscripts—and receive more valuable input. I also do volunteer work for Missouri SCBWI. So it’s very exciting when things come together and we have those great moments in writing!

And I’m thankful for those of you here, who read and share my thoughts on writing for children, and who share my good news. Thank you for visiting, and coming back! I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving Day, but mostly I hope you have lots to be thankful for.  Read More 
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Rhyming Picture Book Revolution!


Join the Rhyming Picture Book Revolution! If you’ve ever been told (or read) ‘Don’t write in rhyme,’ ‘Editors won’t look at rhyme,’ or ‘Rhyme doesn’t sell,’ read on!

My friend, Angie Karcher, started the rhyming picture book revolution in 2014 when she initiated RhyPiBoMo—Rhyming Picture Book Month in (of course!) April! RhyPiBoMo is a month long celebration of children’s poetry during poetry month with blog posts by well known children’s poets and others in the field of children’s poetry, poetry lessons and poetry-writing exercises.

This year is the debut of the Rhyming Picture Book Revolution conference, which will be held in New York City on December 4th through the 6th. On the evening of Friday, December 4th, the award for the Best Rhyming Picture Book of 2015 will be announced!

If you’re not able to attend the conference, you can opt to view a live recording of the conference, which includes the following sessions:

Session 1: Reject ~ What’s NOT working in RPB manuscripts.
Session 2: Revolt ~ The story and meter MUST be perfection!
Session 3: Rules ~ Poetic techniques and lyrical language
Session 4: Rewards ~ The heart of the story brings them back!

As a perk, following the conference, you will be invited to submit your own manuscripts to Editor Justin Chanda, Editor Rebecca Davis, Agent Kendra Marcus and Agent Jodell Sadler. don't miss the RPB Revolution auction page with links to autographed books and items donated by authors, illustrators, agents and editors, including autographed books, a critique or a phone session with an agent!

Check out the KidLitTV website for a list of the top rhyming picture books of 2015. One of my new favorites, and just in time for Thanksgiving, is Sharing The Bread: An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving Story by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Jill McElmurry (Schwartz & Wade/September 2015).

While you’re there look around a bit and click to find Kidlit Radio, book trailers and more.

Don’t miss the daily blogposts about Why Picture Books Are Important on the Picture Book Month blog.

And remember, good rhyme does sell! It takes a lot of hard work to get your rhyme there, but what a joy it will be to read when you’ve finally got it just right!  Read More 
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Think Poetry in Picture Books—Poetic Tools to Try


Think ‘Poetry’ and add that extra dimension to your picture book.
All picture books are poetic in some way. That doesn’t mean that they need to be written in rhyme. Think—
language
rhythm
emotion
detail

In my earlier blog I listed some tools that you can use to ‘show’ and not ‘tell’ when writing a picture book. These included—

Dialogue
“Wow!” said Mr. Slinger. (from Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, Kevin Henkes)

Action
"...he roared very loud. RAAAHHRRRR!" (from Library Lion, by Michelle Knudsen)

Body language
"Mr. McBee frowned as he walked away." (from Library Lion, by Michelle Knudsen)

Your 5 senses
"The wind it shrieks like bobcats do..." (from THAT BOOK WOMAN by Heather Henson)

Detail (language)
“If they see me, they’ll pluck out all my feathers, stuff me with bread crumbs, and cook me for Thanksgiving dinner.” (from Turkey Surprise, by Peggy Archer)

When you think about the poetic side of a picture book, you find even more tools that can help you ‘show’ instead of ‘tell’—

Onomatopoeia –Thump, thump! Squawk!

Hard and soft letter sounds
Soft sounding consonants are: R, J, M, N, S, V, W (C and G)
—use for a quiet or sentimental mood.
Hard sounding consonants are K, D, Q, T, B, P (C and G)
—use if you want a more active or upbeat mood.

Similes –"...as pleasing as ticks in a taco." (from Ginny Louise and the School Showdown, by Helen Lester)

Metaphors –It’s a piece of cake.

Alliteration and Repetition –"Click, Clack, Moo!" (from Click, Clack, Moo! by Doreen Cronin)

Short and long sentences (or words)
Using short words or sentences is more active, more tense; it speeds things up
Using longer words or sentences creates a pause; it slows things down

Look at the books listed above and others at your local library.

Thinking in terms of poetry when writing a picture book adds another dimension to your story. So think like a poet, and give your writing that extra oomph using some of the ‘poetic tools’ listed above! / Read More 
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Picture Book Idea Month—PiBoIdMo!


On her blog, Writing for Kids (While Raising Them), Tara Lazar has created another way for authors to celebrate Picture Book Month. She created PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) as a 30-day challenge for picture book writers.

PiBoIdMo is not a challenge to create 30 first drafts, or 30 completed manuscripts. Just 30 story ideas that might eventually be developed into a picture book. As Tara explains it, “The object is to heighten your picture-book-idea-generating senses.”

And to help you, during November there will be daily blog posts by picture book authors, illustrators, editors and other kidlit professionals will help inspire you. And prizes (did I say prizes!?). You have until November 5th, that’s Thursday of this week, to sign up! Just visit Tara’s blogsite to sign up!

While you’re there, check out today’s post by Joan Holub on fresh ways to get picture book ideas, and sign up to win a prize!

When you’re finished there, go to the Picture Book Month.com website to read today’s first post of the month by Trisha Speed Shaskan on Why Picture Books Are Important!

Then find links to author/illustrator blogs, picture book resources, literacy organizations and more ways to celebrate Picture Book Month there!
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Coming Soon—Picture Book Month! November 2015


Read * Share * Celebrate!
November is Picture Book Month!


Picture Book Month is an international literacy initiative that celebrates the print picture book during the month of November. Every day in November, there is a new post on the Picture Book Month website from a picture book champion explaining why he/she thinks picture books are important.

In last year’s celebration, Debbie Ridpath Ohi shared her insight on why picture books are important:

“Picture books are important because childhood is important. Picture books help inspire today’s young people into becoming tomorrow’s thought leaders.”

The 2015 Picture Book Month Champions are:

Sudipta Bardan-Quallen
David Biedrzycki
Paulette Bogan,
Mike Curato
Matthew Gollub
Julie Gribble
Julie Hedlund
Carter Highins
Molly Idle
Joe Kulka
Jennifer Gray Olson
Kathryn Otoshi
Anne Marie Pace
Rukhsana Khan
Robin Newma,
Penny Parker Klostermann
Eric Litwin
Loren Long
Deb Lund
LeUyen Phan
Matt Phelan
Stephen Shaskan
Trisha Speed Shaskan
TJ Shay
Whitney Stewart
Holly Stone-Barker
Mo Willems
Natasha Win
Matthew Winner
and Paula Yoo

Join the celebration and party with a picture book!

Thanks to the following who put together their worldwide connections to make Picture Book Month happen—

Founder: Dianne de Las Casas (author & storyteller)
Co-Founders:
Katie Davis (author/illustrator)
Elizabeth O. Dulemba (author/illustrator)
Tara Lazar (author)
Wendy Martin (author/illustrator)

Thanks also to Joyce Wan for the beautiful logo and to Marcie Colleen for the Teacher’s Guide and Curriculum Connections in each post.

from: http://picturebookmonth.com/  Read More 
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Soaring to New Heights!

On September 26th Missouri SCBWI held its fall conference for children’s writers and illustrators, Soaring to New Heights. It was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday in fall, with something to offer for children’s writers of all genres. Here’s the Wrap-Up!

EB Lewis, award-winning author/illustrator of children’s picture books, was the keynote speaker. Others representing picture books were Connie Hsu, editor at Roaring Brook Press and Kirsten Hall, agent and owner of Catbird Agency. I also did my part for picture book writers in the picture book intensive along with Connie and Kirsten. Representing middle grade and young adult were Brianne Johnson, agent at Writer’s House, Kate Sullivan, editor at Delacorte Press, and author Jennifer Brown. Behind the scenes, not present that day but doing written critiques, was Melissa Edwards, agent at Aaron Priest Literary Agency.

I didn’t attend all of the breakout sessions, but attended the ones that focused on writing picture books.

The day started off with artistrator, EB Lewis, who talked about Art and Picture Books.
He said that the illustrator creates a ‘visual’ language in which you read images like words. Each image moves a story forward. Something that, as a writer, I had not thought about before. Keeping that in mind helps me as a picture book writer.

Agent, Brianne Johnson talked about Character Driven Picture Books.
She said that character influences plot and voice. You want your character to ‘want’ something deeply and not be shy about it! When developing your character, you should look at your character’s values, behavior (including virtues and flaws or weaknesses), and Traits (they should be unique, and have heart). You can put your character in any situation and you know what is going to happen.

Picture book agent, Kirsten Hall, talked about Pitching Your Work.
Your pitch to an agent or an editor should be short and sweet, and include a short summary, a small amount of interesting relevant biographical info about yourself, and be visual. Include comparable titles that are successful and refer to books that the editor has previously edited.

Kirsten’s advice—
1—Pitch to the right editor at the right house
2—Be confident
3—Stand out, be different
4—Remain optimistic
5—Be happy!

The Picture Book Intensive started off with editor, Connie Hsu.
Three things that Connie looks for in a picture book are character, voice and arc. She said to avoid stereotypes when developing characters. Ask yourself ‘why’ your main character is a child or an animal, and how that moves the story along. Regarding voice, ask: who is the narrator and who is the audience? At the end of the story the main character should learn something, and change somehow. There should be a satisfying ending with an emotional resonance, or ‘take-away,’ for the reader.

Agent Kirsten Hall talked about picture book basics. Picture books are written for children ages 4-8. A picture book is structured with a combination of text plus art. The format is a book with 32 to 40 pages—the pages are divisible by 8—although some newer picture books are 90-100 pages!

She gave us 20 tips for writing picture books from editors. Among those were—
Begin at the library or bookstore—ask for their 10 best-selling picture books and read them.
Think visually.
Know your characters and their world.
Know the parts of your story
PUSH the emotion.

‘Cheesy Tip’—Be Nice and Be Professional (also echoed by Connie Hsu)

Also stressed by both Kirsten and Connie, and among ‘Editors’ Tips’ was—
Check your story’s ‘Readability’ by reading your picture book text out loud—over and over! Twenty times or more in one sitting!

My own author part of the picture book intensive focused on 'Show, Don’t Tell.' Why 'show?' We ‘show’ to keep the reader’s attention by making the story more active, putting images in the readers’ minds, and drawing them into the story. We want the reader to ‘feel’ what the main character feels.

What do we want to show? We show characters, emotions, story, setting and time.

How so we 'show'? Some ‘tools’ that help ‘show’ instead of ‘tell’ are—
Dialogue
Action
Body language
Use your 5 senses
Detail (Language)

And, since all picture books have a poetic quality, there are also ‘poetic tools,’ which I’ll talk a little bit about in my next blog post. See you there!  Read More 
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Congratulations to the SCBWI Work-in-Progress Winners!

A teeny-tiny toad in my 8-year old grandson's hand

The Work-in-Progress awards are given by the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) to assist children’s book writers and illustrators in the publication of a specific project currently not under contract, and they are awarded in several categories. SCBWI recently announced this year’s winners. They are—

Young Adult Fiction: Twisted by Erin Stewart
Nonfiction: Tomboy: The Daring Life of Blanche Stuart Scott by Donna Janell Bowman
Multicultural Fiction or Nonfiction: Walking on a Tightrope by Suma Subramaniam
Picture Book Text: Toad in the Road by Peggy Archer
Middle Grade Fiction: Chasing Gold by Beth Cahn
Chapter Books/Early Fiction: Haunted Key Mystery: Help! I’m Haunted by Lorrie-Ann Melnick

The Don Freeman Illustration Grant:
Published Award: Jacob Grant
Pre-published Award: Corinna Luyken

I’m on top of the world because my picture book, TOAD IN THE ROAD, won the award for picture book text. I’m more used to rejections and close calls, than winning, and I was completely caught off guard! So I’m super excited.

The award helps by putting the winning manuscripts in front of editors, thus eliminating the agony of submissions and finding that so many publishers of children’s books are closed to unsolicited manuscripts. No guarantees of acceptance, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

My journey with TOAD began when my husband and I were walking one morning at Quail Ridge Park. It was a quiet morning, and it had rained the night before. As we walked past a wooded area, a little toad sat in the middle of our path. Like many writers, my mind goes off on tangents sometimes, and I started thinking, ‘in the middle of a puddle in the middle of the path….’

As the day went on I started playing with the words in my head until I had to stop and write it down. It came to me in rhyme, and the verse wasn’t coming together very well yet. I was also working on something else at the time. So I put my ‘toad story’ aside. For about a year...

That’s when were walking again at Quail Ridge Park, this time with our 8 year old grandson. He wanted to go off the paved path onto a dirt trail and, of course, we did. It wasn’t long before we discovered hundreds of tiny toads on the trail! My story of the ‘toad in the road’ came rushing back to me, and later that day I got it out from my files and worked with renewed inspiration.

I enjoy writing poetry, and I have two poetry collections published, but TOAD IN THE ROAD is the first picture book that I’ve written in verse. I had lots of fun with the words and toad’s journey, but writing really good verse with really good rhythm is not easy! It took lots of revision, and writing some of the verses over and over. Then making sure it flowed—from beginning and middle to the end. My critique groups liked it, and they offered some very helpful comments.

Finally I finished writing the story, and topped it off with some ‘toad facts’ at the end. Researching the facts about small toads was interesting and fun. I hope that somewhere an editor will connect with my story and want to publish it.

You Can’t Win if You Don’t Try!
Just so you know, this wasn’t the first time that I submitted a manuscript for the WIP grants. I’ve sent a manuscript in several times, and didn’t win. But it was good practice. And I found that there are other perks of submitting besides winning.

The year that I submitted “The Pilgrims’ Thanksgiving Day Feast,” I received an email from one of the judges following the contest, who just happened to be an editor. She invited me to submit my manuscript to her at her publishing house! That editor eventually rejected it, but it boosted my confidence, and TURKEY SURPRISE was later accepted by an editor at Dial.

I submitted FROM DAWN TO DREAMS another year. It didn’t win, but it received a Letter of Merit from SCBWI, and my poetry collection was later published by Candlewick.

So if you’re a member of SCBWI and working on a manuscript that you’re passionate about, start getting it ready to submit in 2016! Write your story, take it to your critique group for their input, and revise your heart away until it’s as good as you can make it! Submissions for 2016 will be accepted starting March 1st. Check the SCBWI website for more information.

You can read more about the awards and the winning entries by clicking here or below the SCBWI logo on the left.  Read More 
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Rhyme and Meter Clinic with Renee' LaTulippe on KidLit 411

In May I signed on to “KidLit 411 “Rhyme and Meter” with Renee’ LaTulippe. Renee used poems submitted by participants and talked about what worked and what didn’t, and why. She started off with some basic vocabulary.

Meter = stressed and unstressed syllables + metrical feet + metrical lines
A metrical foot = a unit of measurement made up of stressed and unstressed syllables which are repeated in a line of poetry
A metrical line = the number of metrical feet in a single line of poetry

iamb = u/s da Dum
trochee = s/u Dum da
anapest = uu/s da da Dum
dactyl = s/uu Dum da da
spondee = s/s Dum Dum
pyrrhic = u/u da da

truncated foot = leaves off a beat at the end of a line
enjambment = when the end of one line flows into the next—it carries the reader and the story forward

Renee stressed that when writing poetry, you should count stressed feet—NOT syllables.

Rising meters—create an upbeat or happy mood
ends on a stressed beat (iamb and anapest)
Falling meters—create a heavier mood
ends on un-stressed beat (trochee and dactyl)

Types of Rhyme

1—Perfect Rhyme—also called exact rhyme, full rhyme or true rhyme
What—
1—the last stressed vowel is the same in both words
2—all subsequent sounds are the same
3—consonants preceding the last stressed vowel are different
As In—light/sight groovy/movie crispy/wispy flamingo/bingo
When—
Perfect rhyme is the most common type used in children’s poetry and rhyming picture books.

2—Slant Rhyme (also called near rhyme, half rhyme, approximate rhyme, partial rhyme, off rhyme, or oblique rhyme)
What—
1—the sounds are close, but not identical
2—the words often (but not always) contain a repetition of the final consonant or vowel sound
As In—bug/rag slant/vent who/through tougher/suffer
When—
Slant rhyme can be used to good effect in free verse and prose.
It’s best avoided in rhyming children’s poetry and picture books.

Some tips for writing poetry
Rhyme shouldn’t drive the story
1—stick to plot—write it out in prose to test it
2—write a 1-sentence summary of each stanza, in the right order; then read it in order —is it vague or general?
3—use words that move the story forward
4—every word counts and is there for a reason

Ways to Vary Meter—Tools for Varying your verse
1—enjambment—keeping thoughts flowing from one line into the next
2—Caesura—a pause in the middle of a line so the reader takes a breath
3—Really Specific imagery—to take us into the world of the story
4—Really Specific diction—to give us concrete people and places and events to hold onto
5—Sound devices—to delight the ear—don’t overdo it—don’t create tongue twisters
6—Refrain—use a refrain with a slightly different meter or rhyme scheme (careful!)
7—Variations in meter—subtracting or adding an unstressed beat now and then (careful!)
8—Mixed meter—Do Not Try This At Home unless you know the 4 main meters inside and out, and how they do and do not work together!

The biggest obstacles to publication of rhyming picture books
meter—when the reader stumbles reading it
pacing—plot—page turns
read-aloud-ability

Renee is a children’s author and poet, and freelance editor. She teaches an online writing course, The Lyrical Language Lab. You can find details at http://www.nowaterriver.com/the-lyrical-language-lab/. Read more about Renee on her blog, No Water River.  Read More 
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The ABC's of Poetry Webinar



Earlier this year I discovered some interesting Webinars for children’s writers. In February I signed on to The ABCs of Poetry: Writing in Poetic Form for Children & Young Adults, hosted by Texas SCBWI, featuring Leslea Newman. Leslea is an award-winning children’s author, and teaches Writing for Children and Young Adults at Spalding University’s brief-residency MFA in Writing program.

Leslea’s focus was on formal poetry, and poetic forms.
“Formal poetry is poetry that sticks to a traditional pattern or structure that often uses rhyme, rhythm, and repetition as well as other poetic techniques.”

Poems that don’t stick to a rigid form still make use of attributes of formal poetry such as rhyme, rhythm, repetition, meter, and uniformity of stanza length. Rhyming couplets, which contains four-line stanzas with the second and fourth lines rhyming, is a simple form of formal poetry.

Many of her own poems are written in rigid forms with prescribed structures. These include the pantoum, villanelle, terza rima, sonnet, sestina, cinquain, haiku, rondeau and triolet.

Just hearing those words intimidates me! But Leslea’s webinar explained the types of poetry in a way that even I could understand, giving examples of each. Here are just a few.

The ghazal, a Persian form of poetry, contains internal rhyme before a repeated refrain at the ends of the lines. Read Susan Campbell Bartoletti’s poem “NAAMAH AND THE ARK AT NIGHT.”

The ballad is a French form of poetry consisting of four-line stanzas. Using simple, direct language, the emphasis is on plot and story-telling (a heroic act). An example is THE PIRATE QUEENS by Jane Yolen.

Haiku is a Japanese form of poetry consisting of three lines. The entire poem should be as long as one breath, and should contain some description of nature, and have an aha! moment and an element of compassion. Read GUY KU by Bob Raczka, or WONTON by Lee Wardlaw

The pantoum, from 15th century Malayan literature, consists of 4-line stanzas of indefinite length and optional rhyming. Every line in a pantoum is used twice.

Leslea gave a few reasons for writing formal poetry. A few of them are:
•It develops your ear.
•Formal poetry soothes the reader.
•It provides a built-in tension of expectation and surprise.

Leslea said “I find writing formal poetry especially helpful when writing about emotionally wrenching situations.” See her book, I CARRY MY MOTHER.

Books on poetic form
A KICK IN THE HEAD: AN EVERYDAY GUIDE TO POETIC FORMS by Paul Janeczko and Chris Raschka.
THE BOOK OF FORMS: A HANDBOOK OF POETICS by Lewis Turco.

Leslea Newman is a poet, a teacher, and a mentor. Find out more on her website at: http://lesleanewman.com/

Check out these upcoming or ongoing webinars and podcasts for children’s writers:

Picture Book Craft Intensive: Telling Children's Stories in Today's Market
An On-Demand Webinar
Guest Speaker: Mary Kole

Chapter Book Craft 101 with Simon & Schuster editor, Amy Cloud
October 20, 2015 from 7:00-8:30 pm
hosted by North Texas SCBWI
very reasonable price with reduced rate for SCBWI members

Keep your eye on this Writers’ Digest link to up-coming webinars

SCBWI Podcasts, which are free to members!
SCBWI brings our members engaging podcasts with leaders in the children’s book field. Sit in on these conversations to get informed and inspired!

For information on how to become a member of SCBWI, click here or go to http://www.scbwi.org/about/.  Read More 
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