Tuesday, October 31, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017

Tomorrow is the first day of National Novel Writing Month, and for the first time in a few years, I'm going for it! This challenge of writing 50,000 words of a new novel is crazy, but fun. It's crazy fun!

This will be my fifth time participating in NaNoWriMo. Out of the four times I've participated in the past, only once have I been a "winner." And twice have my manuscripts actually ended up as full drafts. Both of those, by the way, have been revised and polished. Alas, neither has been accepted for publication. Yet.

This year's project is a middle grade fantasy that I am tentatively calling The Black Pool. To prepare for the writing of this novel, I have written a one-line pitch, a one-paragraph blurb, character sketches for the primary characters, and the beginnings of an outline. I've also created a board on my Pinterest profile for world-building inspiration. I'm not exactly a planner, but for this kind of challenge I need a bit of direction before I get started.

My oldest daughter is taking the NaNoWriMo plunge too, and as an extra incentive for us both, we have decided that our reward for "winning" will be to order some fun NaNoWriMo gear. And I'm GONNA WIN, because I really want that T-shirt. Or maybe the travel bag. I can decide later!

Are you doing this crazy challenge this year? Here are a few tips that helped me get through it in the past:

1. Plan. At least a little, so you have some sense of direction.
2. Do NOT edit, as far as it is humanly possible.
3. Write out of order if necessary.
4. Participate in Word Sprints on Twitter (@NaNoWordSprints)
5. Ignore the haters! Even the little invisible one that whispers in your ear.

Here we go! Who's with me?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Top Ten Rhyming Picture Books

Rhyme is one of my favorite things, whether it be in the form of a poem or a picture book. I love reading it, and I love writing it. In fact, when an editor poses the question, "Why rhyme?" the first thought in my head is, "Why not?" I want to share my love for fabulous rhyme with you, so here is a list of my top ten favorite (currently) rhyming picture books.

1. THE FORGETFUL KNIGHT by Michelle Robinson, illustrated by Fred Blunt

This book is rhyming perfection, with a clever story and lots of laughs to go with it!

2. BEAR SNORES ON by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman

A pleasure to read over and over, and a book I recommend to anyone who wants to write in rhyme. The writing captures the mood of the book perfectly, and the story is fun and sweet.

3. THE THREE NINJA PIGS by Corey Rosen Schwartz, illustrated by Dan Santat

A funny and active retelling of the classic fairy tale. And don't forget the other two ninja books in this series, NINJA RED RIDING HOOD and HENSEL AND GRETEL: NINJA CHICKS.

4. TEENY TINY TOADY by Jill Esbaum, illustrated by Keika Yamaguchi

An adorable story about a heroic little toad told in rhyme that bounces and rolls and flows off the tongue.

5. WHAT ABOUT MOOSE? by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Rebecca J. Gomez, illustrated by Keika Yamaguchi

I had to include this book in this list, and not just because it's one of my own. One thing this book is consistently praised for is its flowing rhyme and its unique language. And it always elicits some giggles during read-alouds!

6. THE PRINCE AND THE PORKER by Peter Bently, illustrated by David Roberts

So funny and so much fun to read!


The sequel to SIMPSON'S SHEEP WON'T GO TO SLEEP. It's charming and funny, and the rhyme is basically flawless.

8. TWINDERELLA by Corey Rosen Schwartz, illustrated by Deborah Marcero

A "fractioned" fairy tale that is as fun to read as it is clever. Who knew a book with a math theme could be this much fun?

9. IT'S ONLY STANLEY by Jon Agee

An amusing and clever book that has flawless rhyme and a surprise ending. What more could you ask for?

10. NINJA, NINJA, NEVER STOP! by Todd Tuell, illustrated by Tad Carpenter

This book is just so active and fun. You'll love reading it aloud to the littlest ninjas!