How to Write Like a Professional

How to Write Like a Professional
6 Surprising Mistakes That Make Writers Look Like Amateurs... and How to Avoid Them

Friday, March 18, 2011

Pot-O-Gold Blogger Award

Pixel Berry Pie Designs
The newest blogger award on the internet block! Thanks to Tarissa of Pixel Berry Pie Designs for designing the blog award for me!

The Pot-O-Gold Blogger Award is awarded monthly, by me, to one blogger who I feel has a flair for interesting and helpful content, as well as visually appealing and easy-to-navigate design. In other words, it's like discovering a pot of gold! It's a site you will visit frequently and enjoy swimming around in for a while. For the kick-off month, I am awarding it to FOUR talented bloggers out there. Each month hereafter, I will award one lucky blogger.

If you receive the Pot-O-Gold Blogger Award, here are the rules:
  1. Say thank you to the person who gave it to you.
  2. Write a post and include the image of the award, a link to the person's blog who gave it to you, and a link to my blog, WRITE WILD. (Copy and paste the rules in your post.)
  3. Award four bloggers this award and tell why each is a Pot-O-Gold! (If you receive this award more than once, you only have to forward it the first time.)
  4. Share four simple things about yourself: 1-a time you had to exercise FAITH, 2-something you HOPE for, 3-something (or someone) you LOVE, and 4-a time when you felt LUCK.
Without any further ado, here are the first four lucky Pot-O-Gold Blogger Award winners:
    The Bookshelf Muse
  1. The Bookshelf Muse, hosted by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. This site has created a thesaurus for writers  in the following categories: Emotion, Setting, Symbolism; and Colors, Textures, and Shapes. With over 1,600 followers, you will LOVE what they have to offer. Each thesaurus lists words, phrases, and images that you might want to use to portray a certain emotion or symbol in your writing. Enjoy!
  2. Literary Rambles, hosted by Casey McCormick and Natalie Aguirre. Casey McCormick was one of the founders of WriteOnCon, the first online writer's conference (for free). Her blog just underwent a new change. It's more appealing to the eyes now with its white background and she recently added Natalie as her co-host. Her blog focuses on "spotlighting children's book authors, agents, and publishing." With over 1,100 followers, you will also enjoy her Tip Tuesdays (short helpful writing tips) and all of her hundreds of agent spotlights. Dive in!
  3. Writer's First Aid, hosted by writer Kristi Holl. She has been blogging since December 2007 and has a huge following through RSS feeds and e-mail subscriptions to the ICL Newsletter (Institute of Children's Literature). Her blog is "a medicine chest of hope...to ease the pains of the writing life and help make your writing dreams come true." Her blog is very informative and very inspirational and also very organized. On the 25th, I'm reviewing her new book, More Writer's First Aid. She posts three times a week. The only downfall is that there is no HOME button.
  4. There Are No Rules, hosted by Writer's Digest editor Jane Friedman. This blog focuses on industry news and trends, agents, publishing, writing craft, and more. Been around since April 2008 and the Writer's Digest facebook page has over 12,000 fans. Straight to the point and matter of fact, she delivers the info you want over and over again, while also including lots of guest posts from successful writers.
Now for my four things to share:
  1. FAITH - I used a lot of faith when I had to pray HARD about which job to take when I had two separate offers at the same time.
  2. HOPE - I hope I'm NOT grumpy in the morning (I'm staying up way too late tonight).
  3. LOVE - I love dark chocolate.
  4. LUCK - I feel blessed (i.e. lucky) that my treadmill still works, even though I know I won't be walking on it in the morning.
Keep on keepin' on...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Extravaganza Galore!

 Welcome to a giveaway and an award. They actually coincide thematically.

The giveaway is to win a cute homemade four-leaf clover bookmark. If you'd like to enter, simply become a follower on Google Friends Connect and leave a comment below to share the answer for one of the following questions (or all if you're bold and have the time):
  1. What do you think the four leaves of the lucky shamrock stand for?
  2. What are your favorite types of books to read? (Mine are picture books, Christian romance, and self-help.)
  3. OR ... what is your favorite St. Patrick's Day treat or snack?
Visit More Giveaways! (I accidentally deleted the linky on 1-20-12. Oops!)


HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!!! Oww! Don't pinch me; I'm the one wearing green!

Keep on keepin' on...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Critiques and Markets and Books, Oh My!

Welcome to the Winners Circle! February's winners are out! Thanks to all who participated!

The winner (by way of a random drawing) of The Giblin Guide to Writing Children's Books by James Cross Giblin, for promoting about the contest:
Lynn A. Davidson!
The winner (by way of a random drawing) of Crocodaddy by Kim Norman, for simply entering the PB contest:
Brian Cretney!
The winner of the coveted PB critique, with recognition (here it is in all it's glam and fame), and a marketing plan goes to:
A Trip to the Beach by Catherine Johnson - Early PB Category!
and
Willie the Worm by Brian Cretney - Rhyming PB Category! 
Congratulations, everyone! Still taking subs for March! You can always enter again!

Keep on keepin' on...

Friday, March 11, 2011

200 Words

Yippee!!! I now have 200 followers! Thank you all so much for reading my blog from time to time and making the effort to comment on my posts. I can't believe I have 200 followers in a little over a year. Sorry, no contest to celebrate, but I will share 200 words about me. Enjoy!

spring, Asheville, rain, 26.2, cheerful, 70's, clovers, chapstick, boxes, Jewel, saute, mushrooms, steak, Nanny, babies, family, chocolate, mom, church, blue, red, purple, Frederick, pencils, pens, dog, cat, bee, ladybug, insects, global, inspire, fruit, run, smile, April, talk, words, share, NC, sandals, compost, Christmas, puzzles, creative, numbers, slippers, spell, 13.1, runner, pictures, optimism, sunshine, 80's, music, dancing, reggae, fish, bake, broil, salad, avocado, temple, genealogy, wife, mother, school, home, Oakley, garden, green, pink, tan, LOST, trampoline, Highland, horse, bird, read, write, color, world, lift, hold, jewelry, CTR, faith, divine nature, individual worth, knowledge, choices, accountability, good works, integrity, virtue, LDS, scrapbooks, computer, class, students, yin-yang, UNCA, bracelets, watch, rings, VW, organize, illustrators, Pollacco, authors, Yolen, 5K, pencil sharpeners, Erasure, rock-n-roll, flowers, trees, lake, canoe, waterfalls, hike, work, office, chair, black, white, silver, kneel, pray, earrings, hug, kiss, photography, chess, CA, scriptures, Bible, fun, children, 10K, heart, water, treadmill, Skittles, BYU, sleep, Kirby, RAV4, 90's, autumn, Falco, Country, camping, zombies, math, literature, sister, Cranberries, teacher, outside, gymnastics, khaki, paper, books, race, shark, fish, draw, yoga, Paprika, calculator, sticky notes, UNO, smoothie, lists, Book of Mormon, Alaska, Mraz, disco, writer, brown, marathon, Superman, karate, dig, till, earth, necklace, laptop, money, stickers, grammar, curious, dictionary, alphabet, Marion, winner.
Depending on how you count, there might be a few more than 200. Oh well.

Want to share a few words of your own about yourself? 

Keep on keepin' on...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My Favorite Picture Book

Thanks to Megan Bickel, I'm participating in her blogfest today, March 10. So one of my favorite picture books is The Library Dragon by Carmen Agra Deedy, illustrated by Michael P. White. I love the story. I love the images. I love the humor. I love the language. I love it as a parent, a teacher, and a writer. I could read it over and over and over because the humor and the language and the story and the pictures are just that engaging. It's on my "to-buy" list. I've checked it out of the library several times. My children, now 4 and 6, love this book just as much as I do.
Sunrise Elementary School has a large and very scaly problem. The school has hired a new librarian, Miss Lotta Scales, to clean up, reorganize and take care of things in the school library. Unfortunately, she's a dragon who will not let any of the children so much as touch a single book. Miss Lotta Scales is determined that her library will be pristine with no "sticky finger" marks on any of the precious books.  
Under these conditions it can be no surprise to learn that the children come to hate the library and miss their story hour very much. There seems to be no answer to the problem of what to do about Miss Lotta Scales. Then, one day something quite remarkable happens and the library dragon makes an extraordinary transformation.
ENJOY!!! I give it a 4-clover rating, for sure! 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Debut Picture Book Author, Niki Schoenfeldt

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Niki Shoenfeldt is a picture book author. Her second book is due out this year. She is also working on a YA novel.

So you have a picture book out, and another one coming out soon. Here’s a big HIGH FIVE congratulations to you, Niki! Welcome to my blog today. Thank you Christie! Let’s do the happy dance together.

Question ONE: What are three of your favorite picture books (because we all know you really have way more than three)? I love YOU FORGOT YOUR SKIRT AMELIA BLOOMER by Shana Corey, I AIN’T GONNA PAINT NO MORE by Karen Beaumont and BEAR SNORES ON by Karma Wilson. Of course there are many more on my bookshelf but those are the ones that came to mind first and are among the top faves.

I’ll definitely have to check out the first two. They sound like loads of fun! Bear Snores On is certainly a new classic.
Question TWO: How did you come up with the idea for your debut book? My first book, NATURE’S LULLABY (Orchard House Press) was actually written for a contest that was looking for a bedtime story. I thought back to my own childhood and how safe and comfortable I felt lying in bed at night and listening to the summer sounds outside my window. Although I didn’t win the contest, I did manage to find a publisher. My new picture book, DON’T LET THE BEDBUGS BITE! (Shenanigan Books, 2011) is based on the old adage which I spouted to my own daughter one night. Needless to say, it took her hours to fall asleep after that. So I decided to make bedbugs a lot more fun and a lot less scary. Of course at the time bedbugs were nearly wiped out of existence. I had no idea they’d be making a comeback! Do you have anything in the works that is NOT a picture book? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it? Yes, I am currently writing my first YA novel and also have the beginnings of an MG ghost story. My YA novel is about a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. His father is in jail, his mother is an alcoholic and his little brother is a pint-sized Goth freak. Life ain’t easy for Talon Cooey. So when his dad calls for money to save his worthless life, what’s a guy to do? As if that isn’t enough, neighborhood pets begin disappearing and an arson roams the area. All the evidence points to Talon and in an effort to clear his name he unwittingly initiates a risky game with a dangerous drug lord.

Wow! It all sounds so amazing!

Question THREE: Will you share your top three tips for writers about writing, publishing, or whatever you have learned along the way that stands out as being very important, but no one ever tells you about? 
I’ve learned lots of things along this journey, but the ones that stand out to me are:
  1. Don’t overwrite. Keep it simple and to the point. Say as much as you can with as little words as possible. Don’t bog down the story with unnecessary description or character movement.
  2. Watch those adverbs! Nine times out of ten your sentence works just as well, or better, without them.
  3. Polish your manuscript. Write it and rewrite it and make sure it is the best it can be. Then, SEND IT OUT. You’ll never get published if you keep your work hidden in a drawer.
Good advice all around.

Question FOUR: Can teachers use your book in the classroom? NATURE’S LULLABY can certainly be used in the classroom. It is like a field guide of nocturnal creatures. Do you have any additional resources available for teachers? At this time, I do not. Although I guess it is something to think about. What advice can you give teachers to help children love reading and writing? I don’t feel qualified to advise teachers, although I definitely encourage parents to read to their children. Take the time to read to your child daily. Not only are you instilling a love of books and a love of learning, but also a love of togetherness. Reading time can be that perfect quiet moment spent with your child in an otherwise too busy day. Are you available for school visits? Absolutely. If so, what are your lessons like? I try to gear my visit to fit the age range of the children and the school I’m visiting. For the really little ones I read from my book(s) and discuss any important values in them.  I want to make them laugh and share an emotional connection with books. For middle grades, I like to talk about writing and the creative process. I want to excite them about their own imaginations. For even older kids, I like to discuss the business end of publishing. I want to point out the effort and rewards of hard work. 

Your school visits and lessons sound amazing. I like how you differentiated the content for the different age groups.

Quesition FIVE: What is your biggest challenge in parenting? Remembering that my children are individuals with their own thoughts and ideas and not an extension of me. In other words I have to work really hard at letting them do their own thing, even if it isn’t what I would do. What is your greatest joy? Watching them succeed in a task they’ve worked hard at. What advice can you give to parents about life, parenting, or creating literate children? Guide your children with love, not criticism and lead by example. Do you read picture books to your own children? Of course! I am addicted to picture books. We visit the library weekly and have an extensive collection of our own. My little one looks forward to reading at bedtime and can often talk me into two or three books at a sitting. My big kid is well past the age of bedtime stories but is an avid reader on his own. Even after my kids are grown, I know my bookshelf will still be home to numerous picture books. There is something magical about a picture book. Something beyond the words and even beyond the wonderful art. Picture books are like an open window where you can journey back in time to the innocence of childhood.  

Niki Schoenfeldt is a wife, mother, and children's writer. In that order. You can visit her at her blog, The Fractured Keyboard. Thanks so much for joining me today! It was a pleasure.

Keep on keepin' on...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Super Snooper Blogfest

I am participating in Alison Stevens' blogfest today. 

My character, Siku, has a two-inch carved wooden sled dog on his dresser right next to a year-old superhero valentine from his best friend. He has marbles under his bed and ghost stories in his closet floor. His favorite article of clothing is his navy blue sweatpants. The whole house is hardwood floor. Next to his bed lay a polar bear rug (sent to him from his grandfather Atka) with two pair of dirty socks tossed on it. In one corner of his room is a puzzle, half-finished, of the Northern Lights. Out his window, you can see the Badlands. On his desk is a deer antler lamp, a messy stack of jumbled notebook paper and construction paper, scissors, tape, a stapler, and a tin can full of colored pencils. Siku's shelves have over 1,000 Lego pieces and over 300 cars placed in several different containers of metal, plastic, and cardboard. On one wall is a large picture of a wolf howling at the moon. A 3x5 family snapshot is tacked right above his bed with a push pin. The photo of Siku's parents was when they visited Alaska right after he was born.

Okay, Snoop, what kind of character is Siku? I hope I win the book!

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