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

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spring Contest Is Here!

Four leaf clover ImageThe Winter Quarter for the Lucky Clover Picture Book Contest is now closed. Good luck everyone! Winner will be announced in April.

The Spring Quarter is NOW OPEN!

Get those submissions in and spread the word.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Do a Good Deed and Feel a Warm Fuzzy

READ-4-LUCK is the weekly feature that acts as a book recommendation, book review, teaching tip, and writing lesson for children, parents, teachers, and writers. I post each week with Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Book Fridays.

 = Not bad. Might read twice.

 = Fun read first few times. Would get from library again.
 = Very enjoyable. Wouldn't mind owning a copy.
 = Awesome! Never tiresome for children, parents, teachers, or writers. May just have to buy this book.

This week's pick is Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed written by Emily Pearson, illustrated by Fumi Kosaka.

A young girl's good deed is multiplied as it is passed on by those who have been touched by the kindness of others.

Publisher: Gibbs Smith  
Year: 2002
Word Count: 1222
Book Level: 4.2
Age: 4-8
Topic: service, blueberries, multiplication
Theme: good deeds, helping, pay it forward, kindness
First Lines:
Ordinary Mary was so very ordinary that you'd never guess she could change the world. This ordinary kid? She did! She changed the world!
CHILDREN:  Rhyming words scattered throughout make great word play. Every day. Yea oh yea! But this is NOT a rhyming book. It is so cute.

PARENTS:  This is a feel-good book you want to read to help teach your kids that kindness and good deeds actually do make a difference.

 Not only is this great for character development, but also great for math. A great intro to multiplication. Could make a tree chart that shows how many people can be affected by the chain of events in a ripple effect of kindness.

 Lots of characters. Interesting to see how the rhymes are worked in and how the ending circles back to the beginning.

Be sure to visit other "perfect picture books" at Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

Keep on keepin' on...

Monday, March 26, 2012

Writing for Children

Only one week left to enter the Lucky Clover Picture Book Contest - Winter 2012 Quarter!

Today I'm exploring craft. The writing craft. I'm trying to think of different sections or categories. So far, I have:

  1. patterns
  2. plot
  3. rules of 3
  4. word play
  5. favorite words
  6. word usage
  7. vivid verbs
  8. character growth
  9. voice
  10. tense
  11. action
  12. dialogue
  13. rhyming
  14. grammar
  15. style
  16. genre
  17. conflict
What other ideas do you guys have? I'm trying to narrow it down to 10 categories. HELP! Which ones might I combine? Any and all ideas will be most welcome!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Pass the Paper #6: The Picnic Party

picnic 01It's time for the monthly writing exercise, Pass the Paper!  

I base this on the activity sometimes done at school or camp.  One person begins a story (either on paper, or aloud) and the next person adds to it.  Participants continue around the room until everyone has had a turn.  If the story doesn't feel finished, go a bit further until it gets an ending, even if it IS goofy.  But then, that's the fun of it! 

Just leave a comment below to add to the story. It's that simple! When you leave a comment, click on "subscribe by e-mail," so you can be notified when the next comment is written. That way, you'll know when to come back and write some more. Thanks for playing! 
Holly was so excited to have graduated 2nd grade, but she was even more excited about summer. She LOVED summer picnics, but she HATED thunderstorms. Her favorite picnic meal was an egg-salad sandwich, a giant sweet pickle and watermelon. She and her friends spent several days planning...
Okay, let's see what you guys can do with this one!

If you missed Leonard the Purple Pig's story, be sure to see how it turned out. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Play the Story Game, Pass the Paper, and Win a Book

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Today I'm participating in the Lucky Leprechaun Blog Hop hosted by the blog, I Am a Reader Not a Writer. The Giveaway? Your choice of the following items:

  1. Mad Libs book 
  2. Picture book: Zaira and the Dolphins by Mar Pavon  Zaira and the Dolphins
  3. Picture book: Drops of Life by Esko-Pekka Tiitinen   Drops of Life
How to enter: 
Leave a comment below with first and last name and e-mail address. The comment is to ADD TO THE FOLLOWING STORY. If the story should end, then just leave name and e-mail. Read all the comments below to follow the storyline, then add your comment.

One entry per person. Have fun! Oh, be sure to say which prize you want. Just put a number at the end of your entry (2). 

Be sure to see the other bloggers on the blog hop and visit them as well.

Pass the Paper #5: Leonard the Pig

Pass the Paper is when one person writes a few lines and passes the paper to the next person to add to the story. Just comment below to join in! Here's story #5 for our Pass the Paper fun. Let's see if we can finish the story by 3-17. Join in, the more the merrier!

Leonard the pig wanted more than anything to roll around in the mud. But he wasn't just any old pig. He was a pampered pig, a purple pig, and a peanut-butter-loving pig. His parents, Dave (who was 8) and Trudy (who was 9), were unusually responsible pet owners - for their age. Leonard didn't know how he would ever step foot outside, let alone get to roll around in the mud. Maybe he should try...


  1. showing how good he was when washing his hands. If he showed how clean he got them maybe he could go outside in the mud.
  2. But Leonard didn't want to be clean! He was tired of being primped and pampered. He wanted to see what life was like for normal pigs. So he waited until Dave and Trudy were watching Nikelodeon and he snuck out the laundry room window...
  3. for a long snout-scrunching moment Leonard's fanciful dream of dirtier pastures was almost in slops when his back left trotter became jambed between window and frame as he hefted his portly bod out into freedom...
  4. ...Aah! The air was smelled clean. Fresh like home-made compost soil. The clean scent of dirt in the air. Leonard squirmed and wriggled. He paused and grunted. He sniffed the air again and squirmed and wriggled some more. The dirt called his name. And if he didn't know any better, he smelled a fine rain coming on soon. Even a pig living inside knew that. Soon he trotted right out of that window jamb, but...


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