R.E.A.D. 7 Tips For Writers

Before we are writers we are readers. Perhaps that is the one thing that encourages us to start a writing journey of our own. I’ve discovered some inspiring tips from Emma Dryden of the SCBWI. Her philosophies in regards to reading, expanding, adapting and investing in our writing are very useful.  Happy Writing!

Do you love reading? [Explored #28]

Do you love reading? [Explored #28] (Photo credit: Fiduz)

Staying on the Road: 7 Tips for Authors & Illustrators

I was asked recently by my colleagues in the SCBWI-Oregon region to share some inspirational thoughts for authors and illustrators. I am happy to share these remarks with a wider audience:
Read.  Read as much and as often as you can. Read books within the genre and style in which you write.  Read books in genres and styles with which you’re less comfortable. Read aloud – from books you love, from books you don’t love, and from your own work – to learn about voice and narrative flow. Read in order to become a stronger writer.
Explore & Expand. Explore all options for yourself as a writer or illustrator—explore creative options and publishing options. Expand your thinking as a creative person to try new styles in your own work. Explore new avenues for the exchange of ideas and for inspiration, be it through social networking, critique groups, conferences. Expand yourself and expand your art – try something you’ve never tried before in your writing or artwork.
Adapt. Adapt to change. The creative environment and the publishing environment are underdoing significant changes right now and it’s critical to remain as adaptable as possible. Be flexible and open to new ideas, new strategies, and new business models.  Be flexible and open to new approaches to your own work. Adapting to the new environments in which we live and work doesn’t mean giving up any creative instincts; rather, it means expanding the possibilities for yourself and your work.
Diligence. Be diligent with your craft. Practice. Write and rewrite. Sketch and re-sketch. Be as diligent with revision as you are with the first draft of anything you create. And be diligent as the marketplace throws up its barriers: if you get rejected, keep sending out your work; if you get feeback, revise; if you have questions, take time to figure out the answers.
Invest. Invest in your work and in yourself. Figure out what you’re willing to invest in your craft and recognize it as an investment in your future, your career, and your confidence. Investment can be many things: saving up to attend a conference or two throughout the year; working with a freelance editor and designer to ready your work before you submit or self-publish; taking the time to research the marketplace, agents, and publishing options. Read more here.

Author Exposed: Karin Lefranc

I love promoting authors and their books. I love it even more when a book can teach a child a very important lesson in life. Karin Lefranc has done this with her book “A Quest For Good Manners.” This is a story kids will have fun with while they learn valuable life lessons. Teachers and parents will appreciate the lesson young readers will learn. Karin also shares some insight on her favorite books, authors and writing tips. Please help me in welcoming author Karin Lefranc. Feel free to leave a comment.

TNW: How long have you been writing?

KL: I have been writing since my first job, which was as a reporter for a local newspaper.

TNW: Have you always written for children?

KL: I went from writing for the local newspaper to working as an assistant editor at Virgin Books in London. There I wrote a lot of press releases and book blurbs. I didn’t start writing for children until about five years ago.

TNW: What drives and motivates your writing?

KL: I first excited about a story idea. I am fueled by the creative process, and then I just love to write.

TNW: Do you feel it’s important for writers to use social media? How?

KL: Oh my, I do feel it is important. That’s not to say I am very good at it. Social media is a powerful platform and as writers we have an advantage to use it well. Marketing ourselves and our books is so important and facebook, blogs, twitter are incredibly useful tools.

TNW: Who are some of your favorite authors and why?

KL: I love One by Kathryn Otoshi. A book about bullying but so much more.

Anything by Mo Willems—he gets how kids think. On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillma

is a lovely gift for any new baby on planet earth. Frog and Toad Collection—don’t need any self

-help books when you have this treasure!

TNW: What writing books would you recommend to new writers?

KL: I just finished Stephen King’s On Writing and that was great. Today, I bought Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, which is on everyone’s list of best books on writing. One that isn’t on everyone’s list and is wonderfully inspiring is If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit by Brenda Ueland. It was originally published in the 1938 and it is a real treasure.

 TNW: What advice do you have for new writers?

KL: Read, write, join SCBWI and a critique group and then read and write some more.

TNW: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

KL: With four kids ages 10 and under it’s sometimes hard to find time to write. I hope in five years, I will have more time to write. In addition to more picture books, I would love to write a middle grade novel.

Title: A Quest For Good Manners

Author: Karin Lefranc

Illustrator: Hannah Neale

Publisher: Beluga Press
ISBN: 9780983045908


Teaching children good manners is a required item on any parents “to do” list. Children can learn to be respectful and courteous at a very young age. Instead of making learning manners a cumberson task, teach them how with a fun, easy to read story that has a princess, a dragon, a fairy and a wizard. It might even be fun for you to send your little ones on a quest of their own for good manners.

Princess Rosalind and her trusty friend Sparkler, a big green dragon, are the slurppiest, sloppiest and drippiest eaters at the Queens table. These two friends over-stuff their mouths with food and then talk while they chew. As a result, food spews and splatters everywhere. The Queen will not stand for this ill-mannered behavior any longer. Of course, Rosalind argues that they really don’t need manners and dragons don’t really know any better. The Queen gives Rosalind and Sparkler three days to find good manners or she will banish Sparkler forever from the kingdom. Rosalind and Sparkler begin their quest to find Percival, an all knowing wizard, for help and guidance.

Rosalind’s first task is to pull a golden fork with a ruby embellished handle from a stone. Rosalind pulls and tugs at the fork until her hands hurt. With the help of Percival she soon realizes its not strength that will release the fork, but knowing how to hold a fork. Once she achieves that goal the fork will glow and be her guide to her next quest. As Rosalind and Sparkle learn more about good manners and what is expected, the two also makes some really nice friends along the way.

Teaching manners can be tricky. Lefranc has done an excellent job of showing young readers how to say please and thank you. This quest can also open up dialogue between parents and children no matter what age. Teachers can also use this as a tool for students in preschool or kindergarten during snack time. Bright and cheery digital illustrations invite readers into the world of the princess and her dragon. Visual expressions of these hilarious characters will bring smiles to all who turn the pages.

Thanks so much Karin for sharing with us today. To learn more about Karin please visit Kristi’s Book Nook and participate in the awesome book giveaway.

twitter: @karinlefranc
A Quest for Good Manners“a fun and meaningful way to demonstrate to children that good manners are not just boring rules but a show of kindness and consideration to others.”—New York Journal of Books

2011 Writer’s Conferences

Thefront writers

Image via Wikipedia

A writers conference is a good idea. Writers can get together and work on their manuscripts and bond with one another. Conferences can be inexpensive all the way up to high priced getaways. You can polish up on your genre when you’re there. If you haven’t heard of the Shaw Guide you are in for a treat. This site lists every writer’s conference around the world.

Unfortunately, I have never had the luxury to attend a conference but I hope to do so one day. Check out the Shaw Guide at http://writing.shawguides.com/ for a list of conferences and workshop for the 2011 calendar year.

Happy Writing!