Does Your Story Need a Heart Transplant? by @BonnieAdamson and #GIVEAWAY

Three case histories

Sometimes I have what I think is a great idea for a story. I plot it out, polish the text, start thumbnailing scenes and begin working on character design. And then I hit a wall. Many of the elements are there, but the story just won’t come to life. This happens most often when there’s something in the way of the characters.

Character = engagement = heart. When I haven’t fully engaged with my characters, there’s no heart and the project flatlines. In that case, the task is to give the characters some breathing room. Maybe the plot has taken over, or  there’s too much detail choking the story—or maybe I simply haven’t given the characters enough to do.

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Whose story is it?

For a long time, I didn’t know who the main character was in this story. I didn’t *care* who the main character was. A fellow who has accumulated enough points to win the big prize at the rodeo, doesn’t.  Misunderstandings ensue, plus slapstick humor and a surprise at the end. I liked it. I really, really liked it. But the story wasn’t breathing on its own.

The fix

A critique partner read the manuscript to her daughter. She reported that the daughter was sad when the fellow at the beginning didn’t win the trophy. Sad??? This was only a minor plot point! What about the funny stuff and the twisty ending? What did it mean?

It meant this young listener had found the heart I wasn’t even aware was missing.  Eventually, after much whining and thrashing about,  I realized I had to commit to the trophy-less cowboy. The immediate solution was to switch from a storyteller’s voice to close third person. The opening went from something like “Have you heard the one about . . .?” [plot-centered] to “Pete never met a trophy he didn’t like.” [character-centered]

Bam.

The lesson

Find your star player and make it *all* about him.

Read your manuscript to an actual child.

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The lock-up.

I thought I had this one nailed—a classic underdog-saves-the-day story with heart built right into the concept. Yay! But was saving the day enough? What if readers didn’t care about my little bumbling bee from the start? I was also having a lot of trouble coming up with a visual identity for her main rival. Worse, this seemed to be the main character’s only story. I know you’re not supposed to think in terms of sequels, but I had a character I liked who was totally boxed in by a dead-end plot.

The fix

The Miss Marple Trick. Agatha Christie’s famous sleuth solves mysteries by observing behavior she can relate to that of inhabitants of her tiny village. One day while trying for the umpteenth time to come up with a sketch for my main character’s nemesis, I suddenly thought of two girls I had known in high school. One was better at *everything* that ensures popularity in that environment. The other was not so much an underdog as simply and thoroughly eclipsed by her friend. Eureka! Once I understood the dynamics  the story became more about the relationship than saving the day, and future story possibilities opened up.

The lesson

Draw on real people you’ve known to flesh out tropes like “the class clown,” or “the homecoming queen.”

Read vintage British murder mysteries.

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A thicket of details.

For this story, I did oodles of research to make sure the setting was authentic, accumulating notes upon notes about jungle habitats. I had a hook and a decent text and even some quirky character traits for the main character. But the obsession with the setting and the research had used up the energy that should have gone to showcasing the characters. My quirky crocodile didn’t have enough to do and came off as merely  part of the scenery.

The fix

Pure serendipity. In  organizing a list of portfolio pieces by project, this one happened to be followed by a wordless story that had its own problems. How about a mashup? What if the protagonist in the wordless story showed up in the jungle? Bingo! The crocodile leapt at the chance to reveal himself as a method actor, uncovering motivations I had not been aware of. The text hasn’t changed, but now there’s a much richer subtext playing out in the illustrations, and the secondary characters have gotten into the act as well.

The lesson

Energize your characters with something totally unexpected.

Have more than one idea in your portfolio.

If  *your* stories lack heart due to characters that are hidden in plain sight, boxed in by the plot, or smothered by the scenery, check out the download for exercises that will help you find the right treatment.

Meanwhile, the stories above are all off life-support and should be up and around soon. Stay tuned!

BonnieAdamson-2016 b&wBonnie Adamson is the illustrator of Bedtime Monster and the “I Wish” series of picture books for Raven Tree Press, as well as Rutabaga Boo!, written by the lovely and talented Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and due in Spring 2017 from Atheneum. Visit Bonnie at www.bonnieadamson.com.

If you are registered for Kidlit Summer School, you can download a worksheet of Bonnie’s writing exercise at our Exercise Book. This is a password-protected area—only members allowed! Please check your email for the password.

GIVEAWAY! Bonnie is kindly giving away a Kidlit Summer School tote bag, featuring her fabulous design. For a chance to win, please leave a comment below.

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Writing with Heart and Soul by Kelly Starling Lyons

KLSS_Lyons_bookcover_001Before I became a children’s book author, I wrote newspaper and magazine articles. I looked forward to feedback from editors that would help my stories shine. But one day, I received a note that made my shoulders slump in shame. “This has no soul.” I don’t remember what the story was. But I remember that critique.

I prided myself on being a writer who put her all into her work. But my editor was right. Technically, the story did the job. I included the who, what, where, when, why and how. My beginning worked. I wrapped the story up with a bow. But my piece didn’t make you feel. It had “no soul“ – no beating heart.

When I think about how to describe heart, I hear my favorite songs. I love ballads. Full of emotion, they make you smile or tear up in remembrance, catch your breath or sigh. As you listen or sing along, you feel everything that’s happening. You connect to the songs, because they speak to something deep inside.

How do you create stories with heart and soul? You start by putting yourself in your characters’ shoes and using your words to make music that will linger. Remember the joy of singing with abandon as a child. We didn’t worry about being on key or who was listening. We let it all out. Give yourself permission to feel everything. Use your senses. Show with your words. Go where the story takes you and bring your reader there too.

Creating stories with heart can be tough. Early drafts of my historical fiction picture book, Hope’s Gift (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), were so focused on accuracy that the pulse was missing. I forgot to make readers long for freedom with Hope, feel her pain, root for her and her family. My editor reminded me that stories fall flat without feelings. She told me to put the history aside for a moment and just focus on Hope’s emotions. She’s enslaved. Her father has run away to help liberate their people. He gives Hope a conch shell and a promise that freedom is coming. All she has left are that gift, her mother and brother and her faith.

As I revised, Hope and her family became real. I pictured her looking into her papa’s tear-stained face as he said goodbye. I imagined her clutching the conch shell he gave her, listening to the swooshing and hearing the echo of his words: “Nothing can keep freedom from coming.” I saw her comforting her little brother Henry like I used to comfort my younger brother Kevin when something made him cry or shudder. I immersed myself in her emotional journey of sorrow, hope, disappointment and joy. The characters lived not just on the page, but in my mind.

Another way to create heart and soul in stories is by studying those who do it well. Check out the work of gifted authors like Jacqueline Woodson, Angela Johnson, Sharon G. Flake and Carole Boston Weatherford to name a few. Read their work for the joy of their stories first. Then, analyze their books and glean tips to help your characters spring to life.

A last tip is to consider your own reaction. If you’re not welling up as you write, feeling a knot in your chest or your heart pounding, readers may not either. Look for internal cues that you’re making music that will resonate and play on.

kellyheadshot (1)Kelly Starling Lyons is a children’s book author whose mission is to transform moments, memories and history into stories of discovery. Her books include chapter book, NEATE: Eddie’s Ordeal; CCBC Choices-honored picture book, One Million Men and Me; Ellen’s Broom, a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor book, Junior Library Guild and Bank Street Best selection and Tea Cakes for Tosh and Hope’s Gift, Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People. Her latest picture book is One More Dino on the Floor. Learn more about Kelly at kellystarlinglyons.com. And follow her on Facebook by clicking HERE.

If you are registered for Kidlit Summer School, you can download a worksheet of Kelly’s writing exercise at our Exercise Book. This is a password-protected area — only members allowed! Please check your email for the password.

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Three Tips for Writing Humor: Write Blind, First Things First, and Get Some Help, Already by @writingmatthew and @drawingrobbi plus a #Giveaway

Perhaps my greatest pleasure is making people laugh. Which is why pretty much everything I write is anchored in humor. It keeps my readers engaged. It allows for higher highs and lower lows. But how to create humor? Heck if I know. Writing this post forced me to think the question through. I’ve come up with a few suggestions. Maybe they will help you.

Swanson 11. Write blind. The key to all humor is surprise—a turn of phrase or twist of events that feels unexpected, and sometimes delightfully so. As a writer, I seek humor by creating voices that reflect the world with a pleasing slant. But for these voices to surprise my readers, I also have to surprise myself in creating them. Too much thinking makes for plodding prose. The more calculating I get, the less natural (and therefore, less funny) the writing becomes. For me, the trick is finding a way to think less, not more.

A few months back, I stumbled on a tool that makes it nearly impossible to censor and judge yourself while writing that first draft—because it sweeps away the fruits of your labor before you have a chance to realize how bad they might smell. I describe how it works in our exercise. It might be the simplest, most elegant way I’ve ever encountered to get the mind out of the way so that intuition can steer the writing process in the direction of fresh, uninhibited, funny prose. It’s also a fail-safe cure for writer’s block. And it’s free.

swnason2

2. First Things First. My best jokes usually don’t show up until the end of a writing project. First I lay the foundation (character, plot arc, etc.), then I frame the structure (the specific business that makes up the story), and only then do add the siding and the windows, the molding and the mailbox. My brain has to do a lot of thinking to build the house. But once the guts are in place and relatively watertight, the imps are free come out and romp, elevating the voice and the dialogue, making the tiny adjustments that transform a solid manuscript into a delightful one. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be hilarious at the outset. Toil all day, then play all night.

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3. Humor Loves Company. It’s impossible to be funny in a vacuum. Landing a joke is completing a circuit. It’s a gamble, a gambit, a leap of pure faith. If you are struggling to write humor, find someone to laugh with. It could be a friend to read your draft and tell you what’s working and what isn’t. Or it could be someone to help you build your jokes by making their own contributions. (Remember that comedic TV shows are written by groups of funny people sitting in a room making magic together.)Every book I write is created in close collaboration with my wife, the illustrator Robbi Behr (she who decided to electrocute me above). Sometimes, Robbi’s drawings elevate and extend my jokes by making them visual. Other times, the humor results from tension between the written and visual takes on a given situation. But Robbi is also my first editor, giving me an early gut check on my manuscripts and helping me develop jokes by lending an extra ear.Finally, just spending time with funny people can help get you into the right frame of mind. Humor depends so much on timing and pacing and instinct. Soak it in, and then channel what you’ve learned. Watch funny shows and standup. Read funny books. Be humor’s companion. Call it research. It’s not such a bad way to pass the hours.

Writing humor: the really short version:

Babies RuinTurn off your conscious thinking, judging brain. Humor comes from someplace deeper. If you can’t force yourself to be funny, let the app in our exercise help.
Don’t feel pressure to make your manuscript funny until you have the basics in place. Funny is the icing. Once you bake the cake, you can turn off your boring old brain and start to play.
Commune with humor, whether through collaboration or seeking feedback, whether by hanging out with funny people or gorging on funny material.

SwansonM_BehrR_headshotHusband/wife, author/illustrator duo Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr have collaborated to create the picture books Babies Ruin Everything (July 2016) and Everywhere, Wonder (February 2017) and the middle grades series The Real McCoys (Fall 2017), all with Macmillan Kids. In addition to speaking and leading workshops on collaboration and creative entrepreneurship, they have produced three small children and more than 70 self-published picture books for children and adults. You can follow Matthew at https://twitter.com/writingmatthew and Robbi at https://twitter.com/drawingrobbi and visit their website at www.robbiandmatthew.com and their Babies Ruin Everything page at http://robbiandmatthew.com/babies-ruin-everything/ and their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Robbi-and-Matthew-819948174807508/?fref=ts

If you are registered for Kidlit Summer School, you can download a worksheet of Matthew and Robbi’s writing exercise at our Exercise Book. This is a password-protected area — only members allowed! Please check your email for the password.

GIVEAWAY! Matthew and Robbi are kindly giving away a  Ridiculous Skype conversation . For a chance to win, please leave a comment below.

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Reaching A Child’s Heart By Trusting Your Own by @wenmass plus a #Giveaway

MassW_book_001I hope you don’t mind taking a break from your regularly scheduled programing (ie: the craft of writing) for just this week. While considering how a writer might go about infusing their characters with heart, I couldn’t help thinking about how we have to remember to have it for ourselves first. If we want to convincingly create characters who believe in themselves enough to accomplish whatever their goals are within the story, we have to be their role models.

No matter where we are in our writing careers, so often we are (to borrow a phrase from Emerson) “… standing in our own sunshine”. We put ourselves down, we dwell on our failures, we downplay our accomplishments. I suppose there are writers out there who have loads of confidence and think everything they create is brilliant, but we must not hang in the same circles. The things we tell ourselves when something we write is rejected or gets a bad review is much harsher than what we would tell a friend if it happened to them. We would try to build our friend back up, insist they weren’t rejected, that the piece simply wasn’t a good match for that editor. We would remind them of all the rejection letters even the greatest writers got. We would convince them how they’ve gotten so much further than so many others who are still dreaming about putting pen to paper.

So be proud of all your hard work and fortify your heart against disappointment, against unsupportive friends or family who just might not “get” why you want to do this. Don’t ask for permission, because that might never come. Don’t be your own worst critic. There are plenty of others willing to take on that role (anonymous reviewers, I’m talkin’ to you), so rise above that and don’t help them along.

heartburstLet’s face it, we don’t write children’s books to become rich or famous. Our motivations run deeper than that. If you remind yourself why you want to dedicate your life to telling stories that could affect a child in ways you can’t imagine, it just might fill your heart to bursting. Then there will be no more room for negativity, only conviction and purpose.

Here are some reasons I came up with, but you will no doubt add your own. We write for the next generation because we were the kids reading under the covers with flashlights past bedtime and we remember what books meant to us when we were that age. I write out of gratitude for Narnia, for Margaret, for Charlotte and for Harriet, and each of us writes for the child in ourself. We write for our own kids to teach them what we wished we’d known. We write to entertain young readers, to make them laugh so that they’ll learn to laugh at themselves. We make them cry to teach them empathy. We show them adversity so they can learn to be strong. We pluck them from their lives and place them somewhere else, in the hopes that when they close the covers of the book they will come back to themselves stronger, with their minds open to new possibilities. We want to protect them and also challenge them. Writing for children is a big responsibility. By placing a story in their hands, your heart has reached their heart in a really tangible way. Your efforts have made a difference in their life. That’s the goal of the job, right? That’s why we do this. Well, that and getting to work in our pajamas all day.

For the exercise portion of this post, I’d like you to CHANNEL YOUR OWN INNER STUART SMALLEY/AL FRANKEN, look in the mirror and say, “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And doggone it, people like me.”

Just kidding. Go treat yourself to a massage and some high quality chocolate before you sit back down to squeeze a little more of your heart onto the page. You deserve it.

MassW_headshotWendy Mass is the author of twenty books for young readers including Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, A Mango-Shaped Space, the Willow Falls series that began with 11 Birthdays, and the Space Taxi series which she co-writes with her husband, Mike. Her most recent is THE CANDYMAKERS AND THE GREAT CHOCOLATE CHASE, (out 8/2/16), which is the sequel to the New York Times bestseller, The Candymakers. She ate a lot of candy while writing those last two. She is currently on a cross-country RV trip where she offered her firstborn to the Ford dealer if he’d fix the air conditioning. He declined the kid, but the RV is nice and cool now. Visit her at wendymass.com, @wenmass on Twitter, and here on Facebook

If you are registered for Kidlit Summer School, you can download a worksheet of Wendy’s writing exercise at our Exercise Book. This is a password-protected area — only members allowed! Please check your email for the password.

GIVEAWAY! Wendy is kindly giving away a copy of  The Candymakers And The Great Chocolate Chase—hot off the presses! For a chance to win, please leave a comment below.

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Author and Illustrator Comic Duos … or 32 Pages to be Schmidt and Andromedon by @joshfunkbooks plus a #Giveaway

If you write picture books, you’ll have the privilege of working with some of the finest artists in the world. You get the opportunity to guide these talented illustrators as they create a variety of fantastic images: glorious images, stunning scenery, pulchritudinous* characters. 32 fully-illustrated pages! How glorious?!?

But 32 can sometimes be a lot. It might not seem that way, especially when it shrinks down to 24-28 depending on how the end pages are used. I know it’s sometimes a struggle to fill those 32 pages with enough varied imagery to keep the book compelling for the reader.

I’ve written in the past about how I come up with ideas (here and here) – my go-to is “what do I want to see illustrated?” Well, I know what I don’t want to see illustrated: the same picture on every page (no matter how pulchritudinous** the characters look).

French toastWhen limiting your picture book manuscripts to 0 to 300 (to maybe 500) words, it’s important to ensure that what’s being shown changes pretty frequently. If you’ve got a scene in your picture book lasting 50-100 words, that’s likely too long. Either all of those words will have to be on the same spread with a single illustration … or … those 50-100 words will be spread across 2-4-6-8 pages … that all have basically the same illustration.

[Note: this may not apply if you’re writing an Elephant & Piggie-style dialogue-driven book – but unless you’re Mo Willems, your book is probably not entirely dialogue with little-to-no action – and even Mo Willems is no longer writing books like that]

Once you’ve given your illustrator enough variety of scenery – it’s time to let them run wild. In my experience, illustrators are some of the funniest, most creative, worst-spelling*** people in the world. I’ve said before that the illustrator is your partner. Like any great comedy duo, you’ve got to set up your partner to knock down those jokes.

pirasaursAnd you, the writer, are the straight man. The Abbott to his Costello. The Fey to her Poehler. The Schmidt to his Andromedon. Put the illustrator in the position to add as much humor as possible.

Throw in puns that could be illustrated should they so choose.
Use the page turns to surprise!
Let the reader expect one thing, but have the illustration show another.

And don’t be afraid to use illustration notes … very sparingly. If there’s a visual gag you’ve got, feel free to throw it in – but make sure only to say what not how.

dear dragon[Warning about illo notes: the illustrator is probably funnier than you are. It might be better to let them come up with the funny ideas to fill in your gaps and not suggest your lame ones]

So, make use of those full 32 pages with the potential for a variety of imagery. And consciously pay attention to the opportunities you’re giving your partner. A Spade plus Farley way is better than either one alone.

 

* You owe me $10, Tara Lazar – I told you I could get pulchritudinous published!

** Twice. (does that mean $20?)

*** It’s true. But I still love you all.

Takeaways

  • With so few words in today’s picture books, it’s important that what’s being shown changes frequently.
  • Put the illustrator in the position to add as much humor as possible
  • Let the reader expect one thing, but have the illustration show something entirely different

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Josh Funk writes silly stories and somehow tricks people into publishing them as books like Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast, Pirasaurs!, Dear Dragon, and more. Josh, a board member of The Writers’ Loft and co-coordinator of the 2016 and 2017 NESCBWI Conferences, is a software engineer. When not writing Java code or Python scripts, he drinks Java coffee and writes picture book manuscripts. You can follow Josh at https://twitter.com/joshfunkbooks and visit his website at http://www.joshfunkbooks.com/

If you are registered for Kidlit Summer School, you can download a worksheet of Josh’s writing exercise at our Exercise Book. This is a password-protected area — only members allowed! Please check your email for the password.

GIVEAWAY! Josh is kindly giving away one signed hardcover copy of each of his three picture books: Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast, Pirasaurs!, and Dear Dragon (one each to three lucky winners). If you are a registered Summer School student and would like a chance to win, please leave a comment on this post to be entered into the drawing.

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Brushing Up on “Show, Don’t Tell” by @marciecolleen1

Ever try to tell someone a story only to end up saying “I guess you had to be there” when they don’t respond with the emotion you want them to?

Do you want to know why that is?

It all comes down to “show, don’t tell.”

distanceTelling keeps your readers (or listeners, in this case) at a distance. Telling merely summarizes what happened in plot points. “This happened. Then this happened. Then I said this. Then I thought that. And this is how it made me feel.”

Showing, on the other hand, allows your readers (or listeners) to experience the story. Showing paints a picture. Showing draws the reader in. Showing uses description, action, and dialogue to portray how a character is thinking and feeling and therefore, builds emotion…or heart.

Sounds easy enough, right? Then why do so many of us fail to show?

In her book Writing Picture Books, Ann Whitford Paul writes, “Too often writers don’t write the most important scenes. It’s much easier to write, ‘The two friends made up’ than to write the dialogue that allows the reader to see their feelings move from hostility to understanding. Skipping an important scene is not only lazy writing, it is poor writing.”

Wow. Ouch! No one wants to be a lazy or poor writer. So how do we get better at showing?

When I write, I visualize my story as a Pixar film or a Pixar short. After all, Pixar has been lauded for its storytelling. And I can’t argue when the movie Up had me bawling—like totally ugly crying—within the first few minutes.

So let’s look at Up as an example and see how we can use it to strengthen our showing skills. If you are unfamiliar with the movie, shame on you. But we are going to be looking at a scene which happens about twelve minutes into the movie, after the ugly cry montage, in which we are shown the current world of the protagonist, Mr. Fredrickson.

First, to tell you the emotion or heart of the scene:

clockMr. Fredrickson wakes up to his alarm clock at 6am. He is all alone. While he eats breakfast he is sad. He does a little cleaning of his house and it reminds him of his wife who passed away. Mr. Fredrickson is lost without his wife. He continues his regular routines, but things seem empty without her. And now his house, the house they shared together is surrounded by construction. The house is alone, too.

Now, how does this scene show us Mr. Fredrickson’s current mood or emotion without a voiceover telling us how he feels or what he thinks?

In a movie this is easier than in a book, but this is where you need to employ some serious visualization.

Example #1

Imagine that you are watching Pixar’s version of your story. What do you see? What is the scenery? How does the scenery somehow help understand your main character?

Telling: Mr. Frederickson wakes up to his alarm clock at 6am. He is all alone.

Showing: Mr. Frederickson wakes up to his alarm clock at 6am and reaches for his glasses purposefully getting out of bed without looking at the cold, empty, “hasn’t-been-slept-on-in-months” pillow next to his.

 See how the mention of the pillow immediately illustrates the absence of his wife? And the fact that he has kept it in the bed, but not used the pillow for his own use, indicates that he is trying to make it seem like she is still there. We, therefore, get some insight into his thoughts and feelings without a voiceover telling us, “Mr. Frederickson is sad. He misses his wife.”

Example #2

Telling: While he eats breakfast he is sad.

Showing: With a sigh, Mr. Frederickson sips his coffee and wishes the empty chair across from him would have something to say. Ellie always had a story to tell at breakfast.

 Providing more information, beyond “he is sad,” breathes life into the scene. Readers are given an insight to Mr. Frederickson’s life with Ellie, while also seeing his current life without her.

Example #3

Telling: Mr. Fredrickson is lost without his wife. He continues his regular routines, but things seem empty without her.

Showing: Mr. Frederickson looked up at the sky which was dulled by the dirt and dust of the surrounding work site. “Quite a sight, huh, Ellie?” he said loud enough to be heard over the noisy construction.

 Through his speech we learn a lot about Mr. Frederickson. He goes on to refer to the house as our house and to talk to Ellie even though she isn’t there. Do not underestimate the power of what a character says to show how they feel and what they think even if they do not come right out and say it. After all, how often do we actually say “I feel ______” in real life? Often it is what we say that allows those listening to read between the lines and determine how we are feeling and what we are thinking.

So, next time you are struggling to “show, don’t tell” remember, visualize your story as if you are watching a movie version of it. For practice, watch a Pixar short. Many of them are on YouTube. First time you watch it through, state the emotions or heart of the story in “telling” language. Then, watch it a second time through, this time paying close attention to the showing that bring all of that heart to life. Who knows, practice enough times and you might make your readers ugly cry in the first few pages—I can’t think of a better goal.

ColleenM_headshotMarcie Colleen is a former classroom teacher turned children’s author. Her forthcoming books include The Super Happy Party Bears chapter book series with Macmillan/Imprint, as well as picture books The Adventure of the Penguinaut, to be published by Scholastic, and Love, Triangle, which sold at auction in a two-book deal to Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins. She is a frequent presenter at conferences for the SCBWI, as well as a faculty member for Kidlit Writing School. Her educational work in children’s literature has been recognized by School Library JournalPublisher’s Weekly, and the Children’s Book Council. To learn more about Marcie, visit http://www.thisismarciecolleen.com/ or follow @MarcieColleen1 on Twitter.

If you are registered for Kidlit Summer School, you can download a worksheet of Marcie’s writing exercise at our Exercise Book. This is a password-protected area — only members allowed! Please check your email for the password.

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#KidlitSummerSchool Week 3 begins tomorrow

Yay for Kidlit Summer School 2016!

Woo hoo! You made it through week 2 and we have more fun in store for Week 3!

As a friendly reminder, for the most successful school experience, try your best not to skip class! They’re offered Monday through Friday right here on the blog through our fabulous faculty guest bloggers. All you have to do is virtually show up here. If you subscribe to this blog, you can have the school come to you instead. And don’t forget if you’re not already subscribed, just head to the right sidebar and subscribe—it’s that easy!

Take a look at your class schedule for week 3. You’re going to learn a lot!

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As always, please help us share the love for #KidlitSummerSchool by posting about it on Twitter, FB (including in groups of writers), Pinterest, and all other forms of social media. Simply use the tag #KidlitSummerSchool wherever you post. If you want, you can copy the ready-made tweet below and paste it into your feed. Super-easy!

More HEART&HUMOR on the 3rd week of #KidlitSummerSchool with blog posts, webinars, exercises, and more! http://www.nerdychickswrite.com

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  • Make sure you are on the email list! All passwords, webinar links, etc. will be sent out through email ONLY. If you are not getting emails, please click HERE to troubleshoot. Because there are so many of you, we ask that you read this carefully before contacting us about a problem. A regular weekly email will be sent out (usually on Sundays). Look for it to make sure you get it!
  • Join our Facebook Group! If you have registered for Kidlit Summer School 2016, follow this link to ask to be added if you haven’t already.
  • Participate in our Twitter #30mdares: This year, Rebecca Petruck will post prompts on Twitter and Facebook twice a week so students have the freedom to arrange group dares that suit their schedules and time zones, or do them on their own. The only “rule” is to set a timer and go without stopping for 30 minutes. You can find her on Twitter at @RebeccaPetruck.   Prompts will be posted Tuesday at 9p ET and Saturday at 10a ET. To get prompts, check the Twitter hashtag #30mdare or visit the Facebook group.Publisher’s Weekly covered Rebecca’s first experience with the #30mdare. You can read about that HERE.
  • FAQ page: Check out the pages for FAQs in the navigation bar for more information on webinars, email, and #30mdares.
  • Cafe Press: Soon our 2016 design will be ready to order from our Cafe Press store. You can have your own Kidlit Summer School uniform.😉
  • Webinars: Stay tuned — we’re still working on these.
  • New to School? If this is your first time attending Kidlit Summer School, check out our updated ABOUT page for a brief explanation of how things work!

GIVEAWAYS:


  • Perfect Attendance:
     
    Remember the blue-star-thumbperfect attendance award? You can get one for attending Kidlit Summer School! We’ll hold a drawing at the end of Summer School for people who commented on every post here on the blog within the first 24 hours of it going up. When Summer School is over, there will be a post explaining how to be entered for the drawing for the Perfect Attendance grand prize.
  • Author Giveaways: Some of our amazing authors will be sponsoring giveaways with their posts. You must comment on their post to qualify for these. Details will be at the end of each post.
  • #30mdare Giveaway: Students who complete at least five of the seven dares will be entered to win a 20-page critique and follow-up phone call from Rebecca. 

ALL PRIZES WILL BE AWARDED AT THE END OF KIDLIT SUMMER SCHOOL 2016!

Relax, enjoy your day and get those pencils sharpened because tomorrow kicks off another great week … See you in class!

The Kidlit Summer School Board of Education.

Follow us on Twitter: @dawnmyoung @kamikinard @leezaworks @marciecolleen @sudiptabq