Category Writing Tips

TOP 10 TIPS FOR PICTURE BOOK WRITERS

TOP 10 TIPS FOR PICTURE BOOK WRITERS

Lady writing on her computer

Creating picture books for kids is at the heart of what I do as a writer.  Since I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years now, you might guess that I’ve learned a lot of useful storytelling tools along the way.

Why keep it to myself? 

So here it is: my ‘top 10’ list of writing-picture-book tips culled from all those conferences, books, courses, workshops, mentorships, and plain old trial-and-error discoveries as I worked it out on the page.

  1. Write big or go home! Let your first draft be as large as it needs to be to gather up all the ingredients for your story to be: setting and characterization details, plot twists, wordplay, dramatic dialogue, and so on...
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Reflections of 2017

Reflections of 2017

As the New Year draws near, it makes sense to press the pause button on holiday merry-making to reflect on 2017 book happenings I’ve been lucky enough to celebrate.

This spring I was a guest speaker for the Visiting Writers Forum at Ringling College of Art and Design, speaking to students and community members about my creative process and the picture book format (https://www.ringling.edu/visitingwritersforum).

In the summer I spoke with kids and grownups about research done for my historical nonfiction title, MOLLY, BY GOLLY!, at the Marion County Public Library, in Ocala, Florida.  While in the Dianne Ochiltree speakingarea, I made stops at the Ocala Barnes and Noble bookstore as well as the B&N in the Villages for story hour appearances...

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DEALING WITH WRITER’S BLOCK, PART 2

DEALING WITH WRITER’S BLOCK, PART 2

Q:  Once I’ve gotten past writer’s block, how do I keep my creative momentum going so it doesn’t happen again?

A:  Each writer will find his or her own methods for keeping the words flowing.  Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Make your writing a real priority, every day.  Remember Jane Yolen’s ‘B.I.C.’ (Butt in Chair) mantra?  Take it to heart and put it in action.  Make your writing the first thing you do each day, if possible.  If this isn’t possible, get out your calendar and see where else you can fit a block of writing time in your day.  You don’t have to write the same number of minutes at the same time of the day to make writing a daily routine...

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WRITING DOWN FAMILY STORIES IS THE PERFECT GIFT

WRITING DOWN FAMILY STORIES IS THE PERFECT GIFT

The holidays not only give us time with family members…it also gives us the desire to remember the people, places and feelings of holidays past.  While the memory of Thanksgiving is fresh, and a new month of holidays to celebrate are at hand, this may be the perfect time to put those beautiful remembrances in a safe place for future generations to cherish.  Here are some ideas to get you started:

Create a family story journal.

Write down your special memories of past holiday celebrations and other important events in your life whenever you think of them.  Take your book to family parties and reunions, and ask older relatives to do the same.  This can be as plain or fancy a ‘book’ as you wish...

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TO BLOG OR NOT TO BLOG?  THAT IS THE QUESTION….

TO BLOG OR NOT TO BLOG?  THAT IS THE QUESTION….

And it’s a big question!  For writers, it comes down to a balancing act between the creation of works to be published, and the creation of content to promote the sale of the same.  It’s not easy finding the perfect answer to the question.

However, if you are going to enter the highly competitive blog-o-sphere there are some guidelines to help you do it in a way that is most effective:

Remember that content is king!  People search out information on the internet more often than ever before.  Please make sure that your blog contains useful tips, resources and facts.  Make sure that your content is easily accessed via links that are correct and current...

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How do you deal with writer’s block?

How do you deal with writer’s block?

Excellent question!  Writer’s block and the fear of the blank page is sort of the ‘common cold’ of a writer’s life.  Since I’ve experienced creative blocks numerous times, I’d like to pass along a few thoughts in the hope that at least one will help you should you ever run up against this particular brick wall in your writing:

  1.   “I don’t have writer’s block,” the voice in your head says, “I’ve just been busy!” Denial isn’t a solution for writer’s block but it sure is a sign that writer’s block has reared its ugly head.  If you find yourself fixated on cleaning the refrigerator with a toothbrush, or running errands that take you far, far away from your work space for days on end…you might just be blocked.
  2.  Admit i...
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Introducing MOO-seum: A COW FOR A CAUSE.

Imagine my surprise when Jennifer Cloward, director of the Paso Robles Children’s Museum (www.pasokids.org) and local artist Cindy Burnside contacted me to let me know that the main character in my picture book MOLLY BY GOLLY! THE LEGEND OF MOLLY WILLIAMS, AMERICA’S FIRST FEMALE FIREFIGHTER, had been lovingly re-imagined as a cow sculpture for the San Luis Obispo, California CowParade. Using artist Kathleen Kemly’s wonderful renderings of Molly Williams for the book as her inspiration, Cindy worked her own magic bring Molly to life in an udderly different form.

First, a little background on this unique program: CowParade™ is an international moo-ving public art exhibit that has been featured in 75 major cities since its inception...

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SIMPLY MOO-VELOUS, BY GOLLY! The heroine of my picture book, Molly Williams, transformed for the Cow Parade by artist Cindy Burnside

Inside Story about the MOO-velous Molly, by Golly! Makeover

The Cow Parade has come to town, and this author is thankful that Jennifer Cloward, director of the Paso Robles Children’s Museum in San Luis Obispo County, California, reached out to artist Cindy Burnside to create a mini-moo cow sculpture based on Kathleen Kemly’s fabulous illustrations from my picture book about America’s first female firefighter for the year-long program designed to raise funds for local charities in a very fun way!

All of the cow sculptures are on exhibit at various locations throughout San Luis Obispo County, and voting is underway for the ‘best in show’.  To view and vote for the Molly, by Golly! MOOseum cow, go to http://cowparadeslo.com/cow/32-mini-moo-mooseum-molly/.

But first, some Q & A with...

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Welcome to the NEW DianneOchiltree.com

WELCOME TO THE NEW DIANNEOCHILTREE.COM!

The name is the same, but dianneochiltree.com has a brand-new look. The focus is still on ‘all things kidslit’ including manuscript critique and editing services for aspiring writers of all ages. Check out the book reviews, and upcoming author events, too. We’ll be adding new blog posts, photos and useful literacy resources as we move forward. I hope you’ll visit dianneochiltree.com again as my author website continues to grow!

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To Blog or Not to Blog

TO BLOG OR NOT TO BLOG?

That is “the question” facing pretty much all of us involved with the world of books today. Although I’m pretty good at maintaining an author website…it remains to be seen if I could maintain the large commitment of energy and time required to make a splash in the every-expanding universe of the internet blog-o-sphere. Since I working on the answer to the question myself, I’m tossing it out to those who have bravely gone where this writer is just now treading. Some of the answers are below. Kudos to all those who have pulled off this balancing act in their business and creative lives!

Cynthia Leitich Smith

www.cynthialeitichsmith.com

I believe that blogs are having a steadily increasing impact on sales, though I’m not sure how we could quantify it...

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