Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Kid-lit Wednesday

Anxious children's writer: Hey man, I thought this blog was going to be about children's illustration, writing and publishing. What's all this about drumlines, demon dogs and duck attacks?

Devas T.: Well, this blog WAS about children's writing/illustration and still IS. Since I have a short attention span, I am easily distracted. I tend to write off topic most days. But, since Steve Neubaur over at Texas Writer's League is considering running a story about my blog in their 800-member newsletter, I thought I should blog about something halfway — er, mostly — literate today. Here's some tips I ran across from purveyors of quality kid-lit, and what they are blogging about:

On the subject of staying focused:
Susan Taylor Brown, author of CAN I PRAY WITH MY EYES OPEN? talks about staying focused on your work. She discusses the importance of becoming a better writer and not allowing reviews and big-money advances to distract you from your craft.

On the subject of "voice":
Children's writer, Rinda M. Byers blogs about the literary terms "style" and "voice." She offers a look at the improper uses of the words. Rinda also offers input into my review of LITTLE BLACK SAMBO, from a differing vantage point.

On the subject of reading:
Cynthia Leitich Smith, author of INDIAN SHOES, reminds us how important it is for good writers to...READ! "Reading counts as writing time. It is also the best, most painless way to improve your craft." --Cynthia Smith

On the subject of writing for YA:
Greg Leitich Smith, author of TOFU AND T.REX (July, 2005) offers thoughts for beginning novelist. He addresses the question: Do you have to "dumb down" the vocabulary when writing for children or young adults.

On the subject of graphic novels:
Anastasia Suen, author of too many books to even try to list, turned me on to the book, Writing and Illustrating the Graphic Novel : Everything You Need to Know to Create Great Graphic Works by Mike Chinn. I'm personally not into graphic novels, but I think Luke Cage over at Splinter Cell would make one hell of a graphic novelist. Check it out, Frank, if you get a second.

On the subject of adjectives:
Mark G. Mitchell, author/illustrator of Raising LaBelle, who currently has no website or blog, but promised to let me know when he does, offers this advice at last weeks TWL conference: allow only one adjective per manuscript page. Beginning writers often make the mistake of using too many adjectives and adverbs to decorate their words. Instead use stronger nouns and verbs.

Example: Devas T. is an extremely slow reader

Better example: Devas T. reads like a turtle.

Extremely and slow are not very exciting adjectives. Turtle makes for a more interesting, stronger noun.

British crime and literary fiction author, Alex Keegan gives more advice on the subject.

Website highlight:
What man has never dreamt of owning a turbo-charged, monster car with gobs of horsepower and pipes with intercoolers — and stuff? Ok, I never have. But my boss has, and the brotha built his own engine from scratch. And he blogs about it.
"So," you're asking yourself. "You're highlighting your bosses blog? Talking about his car engine and horsepower and stuff. You tryin' to use your faithful bloggin' buddies to brown nose in front of your boss?"

Of course I am. I'm up for a performance review. And a brotha could use a raise. So send him a comment and tell him you like his engine. Mention that Devas T. sent ya.

Word of the day: purveyour


Luke Cage said...

Hey brotha Don.The format of this post was smoking man. Sort of like a self-imposed Q & A and a little insight on various subjects are touched on subtlely
capped off with the ever present "word of the day"...Example - Better Example.-tight.. Good looking out on the shoutout my friend. You know I'm going to have to check that out alright? Stay tuned....

Kim said...

GREAT, GREAT stuff! Yes, great is an adjective I really need to eliminate from my vocabulary.

And, it's eerie how similar our posts are today. I swear I wrote mine before I came over here. We even hit upon some of the same highlights today!

You are on a roll. Oh, and I reserved a few of your books at the library today :-)

ManNMotion said...

This reminds me of something a comedian said about oxymorons, where two words meaning the opposite come together to mean something. Equally-Different is one, Separate-but-Equal might be considered another. Some other's were Jumbo-Shrimp, Las Vegas-Style and Best Of-Jerry Springer. with words!

Michele said...

OK, I read your blog often, but have never commented before. This was a great blog, but I also liked the demon dogs, and all the other great stuff you write about. I am assuming you are not the subject of the very enthralling story of the man with cancer? I think you write a great blog and it is a joy to read it.

The Archivist said...

Interesting blog today. I quite enjoyed it.

Oricon Ailin said...

Totally cool dude! Okay, I will never be a good writer, because I love to use adjectives and such. hehehe I agree with your blog was GREAT!!!

And, I checked out your boss' site. Very cool! I'll have to show my fiance. He is trying to rebuild an old 1983 TransAm. hehe

But seriously, Don, you're blog is a lot of fun and I thoroughly enjoy visiting it everyday. Keep up all the great work! *eeks...there's that word again* hehehe


Don Tate II said...

Good Stuff D...I'll keep you posted

(edited, g-rated version of g. cornelius harris' comments)

Susan Taylor Brown said...

Don, I think you hit your mark on this one, as the other comments you received mentioned as well. Thanks for kind words on my blog. I think this is a lot of what the blog world looks for, or what it appears to look for as I see. I keep checking out new blogs and trying to tell what works and what doesn't. I know "they" whoever "they" are say that outgoing links are important in a post. (shrug) Don't know about that but I do know we can all learn from one another and you just showed us how. Pass it on.

Write on, right now.

Friar Tuck said...

About the adjective thing.

Reminds me of Gary Smalley's marriage counseling stuff as well.
Use emotional word pictures.

Instead of "that hurts" say something more discriptirve and something that relates to your spouse in a meaningful way.

The Gig said...

I know in the Bible it speaks against pride, but I don't think it's wrong if I am referring to you? You've done it again -- I'm proud of you. Keep me posted. Love ya!

Jdid said...

great links

Alex Keegan said...

Hi there, stumbled on your reference to one of my articles. Hope it's helpful.

There are another 36 of them, all on creative writing at The Internet Writing Journal. If you visit my blog there are links to them all plus a few of my stories on the web.

Best Wishes,