writing tips

The Picture Book Journey: You Can’t Do it Alone

I don’t remember the exact date on which I began writing picture books, but I know it was after the birth of my first child in 2012. We read to him every day, and as I read, I thought: “I bet I could write a picture book, too.”

I wasn’t coming to creative writing completely out of nowhere. I had written novels and short stories as a teenager. I had a handful of poems published in literary journals during my college and early graduate school years. I had taken a college course on writing short fiction as an undergraduate, and I had read a book about writing for children from cover to cover.

So, I thought I had some clue what I was doing. But I could write a whole series about the things I DIDN’T know about creative writing in general and picture book writing in general.

For me, the biggest thing I didn’t know was that I needed a community. You cannot become a writer by yourself. You need critique partners. You need mentors. You need a cheer squad. In short, you need peeps! 

I had read enough about writing to know that everyone says you need a critique group, but I somehow thought that I was different. Like, I was a good enough writer that I could do it without a writing community. 

Ha ha ha ha ha! 

I sent my first query to an agent a little over five years ago, in November of 2013.  It’s only in the last year that I’ve ever had encouraging responses or revise-and-resubmit requests from agents or editors.  What changed? While I’ve grown in a lot, probably the biggest and most important change is that in the last year, I became part of a community of picture book writers.

So that’s my tip to anyone reading this blog who thinks “I’d like to write for children.” I bet you can! But it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to take hard work. You’re going to have to learn  your craft. And you’re going to need to find your peeps.

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Halloweensie 2018: “The Halloween Guest.”

Later, maybe I’ll make a proper introduction post. But today, I’m going to jump right into blogging with my entry for Susanna Hill’s “Halloweensie” contest. Here it is, my 100 word Halloween story:

“The Halloween Guest”

 

Halloween night was stormy. Grimalkin huddled under a dripping bush. Shiver!

When the witch’s cottage door cracked open, he took his chance and ran inside. Warmth! Light!

“Shoo, cat!” grumbled Tansy the witch.  A howl of the wind softened her heart: “You can stay, but just for the night.”

Grimalkin explored. So much to see: jars of herbs; bottles of potions; bubbling cauldron!

Sniff! That potion didn’t smell right. Grimalkin tipped a little catnip in and stirred clockwise. Better!

Tansy tasted the potion. “Sweet! With magic like that, you’d be a great familiar. What do you say?”

“Purr!” said Grimalkin.

monochrome photography of black cat
Photo by Crina Doltu on Pexels.com

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Welcome!

Welcome to the Thousand Acre Wood! Why that name, you wonder? Because I live in a town blessed with an enormous municipal park. I don’t know whether there are really 1,000 acres of wooded land in Bidwell Park, but there certainly is a magnificent forest right in the middle of our little city.

I won’t promise to update this blog regularly, but I do hope to use it for contest entries, announcements about upcoming publications, and thoughts about what I’m reading. Thanks for reading and following!