Monday, August 30, 2010

Fun with numbers

Today I turned 35.

I like to joke that 35 is half-way to 70. I can't decide if that makes me feel old or not. Thirty-five years seems like a long time, but when I try to imagine those years into the future, they seem even longer. I still feel young, so that's what really matters.

But enough talk of age. Instead, here are some more fun little numbers about me:

1 - men I've kissed, high school friends I'm still close to

2 - sisters, countries I've lived in

3 - children, novels completed

4 - brothers, poems accepted by Highlights

11 - queries/submissions currently outstanding

15 - picture book manuscripts I really believe in

16 - years married

18 - age when I got married

23 - years since I chose to follow Jesus

46 - SALES (possibly more)

169 - responses in my rejection file (not counting email rejections)

100,000 - more tries before I even consider throwing in the towel

Saturday, August 28, 2010

When you think you're done...

After getting some feedback on SHARRA'S WAR during WriteOnCon, I decided to make some changes to the story's beginning. It was something I had been considering, and the feedback I got was a confirmation for me that it needed to be done.

So, the other day I picked up my journal and started writing a new opening. I brought it with me when I went to pick my kids up from school and worked on it while I waited.

Enter Daughter #2.

I handed her my journal. "Here. Read the new beginning of SHARRA'S WAR."

She looked at me with this horrified expression and said, "Noooo!" as if I was about to cut off my left arm! She doesn't like it when I revise something that she thinks is "perfect." But she read it anyway. And when she got to the end of the new beginning, she said, "Scary." Not that the writing was scary, but that the last line was scary.

To me, her comment was a good thing. It meant that I got across what I was trying to get across.

I haven't gotten Sharra's new opening quite to where I want it to be yet. But when I do get there, I hope Daughter #2 won't need any more convincing.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Life of a Picture Book Part Nine: When you're not in love

Writing a book is a bit like developing a relationship. Love doesn't always come right away, but even when it doesn't, that doesn't mean the potential isn't there. It may just need more time and effort, possibly even a fresh start.

That is the case with my Winifred. The closer I've gotten to a polished rhyming manuscript, the less I like it. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Winifred as a character. But the format of her story doesn't seem to be working for me. I don't love it. So I decided to start over.

Last night I began rewriting Winifred in prose. I don't know if this will lead to true love or not. It may be that rhyme really is the way to go and I simply need to change the pattern. But what I do know is that I'm not going to give up on her.

Read The Life of a Picture Book Part Ten: OUT in the World!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Summer Wrap-up

Tomorrow I go back to work after just a little over two months off. The kids go back to school on Wednesday. Whatever happened to the 3 months of summer vacation from my childhood?

I said before that I wanted this summer to be fun and productive. Just how fun and productive has it been?

I'll start with the fun.

We began our summer with a big road trip. We drove to California, where the kids got to swim in the ocean for the first time. We saw the Sequoia trees, the Grand Canyon, the Petrified Forest and the Garden of the Gods. Lots of driving. Lots of good times. Lots of pictures. Here are a couple:

The Grand Canyon

The Sequoias

We spent a lot of days sleeping in and being lazy. We played video games and watched movies. Spent some time at the pool, the lake, the sprinkler park. Had some picnics with friends. Spent a couple nights at a cabin, away from TV and computers. Built Lego houses. Celebrated birthdays. Stayed indoors a lot. It was really hot!

How about the productive?

I've done plenty of writing this summer, especially during the month of July. I've kept filling pages in my poetry journal and gotten my latest picture book nearly polished. Corey and I have two new picture books polished up, one drafted, and have done plenty of brainstorming for new ideas.

I also shampooed the family room carpets and did a big art project with the kids. Here's the finished collage:

It was a wonderful summer. Tomorrow, it's back to reality. But reality isn't so bad. I'm sure a lot of great stuff will happen this year.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The Life of a Picture Book part Eight: Reunion

I have let Winifred sit alone for the past two weeks. Soon it will be time to be reunited with my story and see if the distance has done us both some good.

There is the chance (the fear!) that I'll open that document and see that it is not nearly as good as I thought it was. But if I can be objective and be able to see just what Winifred needs to be great, then the time apart will have been worth it.

Read The Life of a Picture Book Part Nine: When You're Not in Love

Sunday, August 01, 2010

August Acrostic

Approaching summer's end,
Unhappy thoughts of school ignored, we
Gather sun rays and lazy moments
Until that sly calendar
Sends us back to desks and rules
To make us prisoners...again