Halloweensie 2015

Arooooooooooooo! It’s that time again. It’s once again time for Susanna Leonard Hill’s Halloweensie contest.
Here are the rules for this year’s contest as taken from Susanna’s website:
“Write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (title not included in the 100 words), using the words costume, dark, and haunt…You may use the words in any form – e.g. haunt, haunts, haunted, darkness, darkening, costumed, whathaveyou :)”
So without further adieu, here’s this year’s story:

Hallowe’en Trick
Word count: 100

Sophie pulled the black sheet over her head.
“I’m going to fool everyone,” she giggled.
She skipped out the door and hid behind the bush.
Her sister Abby tripped down the sidewalk in her princess costume.
“Aaahhhh! You scared me.”
Sophie laughed. “I’m blending in with the dark and haunting people.”
The girls sped up the next sidewalk to their first house.
“Trick or treat!”
The door opened. “What a beautiful costume, Abby. Here you go,” said their neighbour.
The door closed. “What? Where’s mine?” said Sophie
Abby laughed. “You blended in so well, she didn’t even see you.”

Hallowe'en ghost

Not the same as the ghost in this story, but this is my daughter in last year’s ghost costume

If you haven’t already visited Susanna’s website to read some of the other stories, click here to do so. They are always fabulous!
And to read my Halloweensie from 2014, click here.

Are you ready for PiBoIdMo 2015?

Picture Book Idea Month logo

So I am taking another online writing course from ed2go. The first exercise in the course is to read a copy of a newspaper and write down 25 ideas. Be inspired by the articles and pictures. I even looked at the ads.
I thought that I couldn’t possibly find that many, but I was amazed that I did come up with 25 ideas. For example, I found a couple when looking at a picture similar to these ones in this article about a future indoor city. Go ahead, click on the link, and give it a try. See how many ideas you can come up with.
The best part was that eight of the ideas were for picture books! Wowee! And then I thought, Aaaarrrrggghhh! Why isn’t it PiBoIdMo yet? I have eight new ideas in the month before!
But wait, all is not lost. Why not recreate this method during PiBoIdMo? Ah ha!
And so now you know one of the ways I am going to be coming up with ideas during PiBoIdMo. How about you?

Registration starts on October 25.

Picture Book Summit Wrap up

The first Picture Book Summit rocked! If you didn’t attend this one, be sure to sign up for the next one.
I came away with several new techniques to try out on my picture book manuscripts. I also decided which picture book manuscript I am going to present for a critique at the PYI conference, after I apply what I learned at the summit to the manuscript.
But most importantly, I came away refreshed and renewed and inspired. I have been stuck, stuck, stuck in my writing. And that has made me crabby, crabby, crabby. I think that’s another reason why people tell writers to write every day. Otherwise we get crabby. I know I get crabby after several days of not writing anyway. What about you?
There were four fabulous educator sessions, plenty of questions answered by agents and editors, and three amazing keynote speakers.
Here’s something I learned from each keynote speaker:
1. Peter Brown
Peter Brown tries to tell a story visually and what he cannot show using pictures, he will use words to show instead. This is completely opposite to how I write, and so I am going to try it out and see how my stories differ.
One of my favourite books by Peter Brown is:

2. Andrea Davis Pinkney
Andrea Davis Pinkney carries her writing notebook with her everywhere. In fact, she even leaves it at the side of the pool when she takes a swim. One day she forgot her notebook though and ended up writing some notes on the bottom of a flip flop! A flip flop! The notes on the bottom of the flip flop became part of her first picture book. She still has the flip flop.
I will remember to take my notebook everywhere from now on. And not only because I don’t own a pair of flip flops.
One of my favourite books written by Andrea Davis Pinkney is:

3. Mac Barnett
Did you know that Mac Barnett can do a decent Grover imitation? But that’s not all I learned during his session. Writing picture books is a visual act, and so we must think visually. Barnett taught me some stuff I don’t normally think about as an author, stuff related to layout and trim size. For example, a full page image will invite the reader to linger, whereas a two page image becomes fully immersive or a payoff for a joke. These are things that an author like me can keep in mind while writing text.
I love this recent book by Mac Barnett:

Did you manage to attend this year? Are you considering attending next year? What have you been up to lately?
Leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.