What’s today’s challenge? Consider where, and how to cut words after Cartney illustrates our KidLit Book. It’s a challenge. A timely e-mail came from Brooke/Journey to KidLit. She tells me the industry standard for a picture book is 500. Most/Many have over 1,000 words. As it sits now, mine is 1,617.
Cartney mentioned to me about the number of words in my current draft. I love her honesty and ability to speak up to me, and be kind while doing it. I truly felt like I was working with an equal, we’re both new to publishing a book. BTW, my illustrator is graduating from high school today. How fun! Congratulations, Cartney!
This e-mail further explains to me what I need to do as a writer. From the very beginning, I’ve known I will cut words out as illustrations will make them unnecessary. Now, I’m going to remove passive voice, making it active. Easier said than done!
To use a word our friend, Lenny Leavitt almost coined, I need to do a “word-ectomy” to my story. It might be a little painful, but the story will heal and be much better with fewer words. The idea of a picture book, after all, is to let the pictures tell the story. Lenny adds “ectomy” to “foot” to explain a pedicure. Maybe I could get some great words from him! Maybe for the novel. Not now. I don’t want kids confused.
Another hint from Brooke @ KidLit is to always show action above anything else. And each page needs to feature something different to keep a kid’s interest. I have plenty of kid books to look at for “how to do this.” I collected them like crazy for the Grandkids. They’re some of my favorites, I’ve even found some of the books I had for my kids. They’re fun to read to the Grands. And soon, I may be reading them to practice for making a video of parts of “ROXIE! What Are You Doing?” Grandma Kathy may be going “Hollywood.”
Oh dear, what have I gotten myself into?
I’m just joking. I know perfectly well what I’ve gotten myself into. It never occurred to me I’d really make this opportunity for myself. I’m going to publish my kid book! All the pieces are falling into place; at the same time, I’m learning creative ways to make myself seen and heard among the avalanche of books that are out there. How do I stand out?
I think Grandma Kathy needs to read books (any good books, not just mine!) to kids on video. It might be a substitute for when Mom or Dad are busy and cannot read to their littles. It might be a way to stand out. I think it’s worth a try. Kate Whitecotton of RAVE ON Productions, I may be asking you some questions soon!
So even after the Babe having a fall off a ten foot ladder, a small brain bleed we’re watching, and me serving as his UBER driver for the next few weeks, It’s been a very productive week. My words are all in the manuscript text boxes, I’m going to flag the ones I’m going to omit (for Cartney) and we’ll see what happens next. This is pretty exciting. Thanks for being here with me today and every day. We’ll see each other tomorrow, eary again! I love writing in the morning. It’s so much easier, my brain isn’t so cluttered. Take Care. Be Kind.
It’s 10:26, the breakfast dishes are soaking, I made the bed; the dogs are napping, and I’ve just read through another edit of my Chapters Three and Four. I’ve read it’s best to read out loud when doing that. It’s true, you hear some weird things when you do that. I feel pretty confident about the two chapters. I may get bold and share a part of them on the creative FB groups I belong to. And here, as I become braver. I can tell I’m learning, and that’s a good feeling.
The red pencil needs sharpening. I have to laugh at the Pro Writing Aid software I use. I’ve been happy with it, but lately, I see them suggesting to use, say “beat;” and then you correct it, they tell you “beat ” and you could chase your tail all day long. If you turn off the suggestion, you turn it off not just on that one example, but on all occurrences of it until the end of time! Be careful what you wish for. The thing is, don’t totally rely on the software. Sometimes it makes little sense.
Stories. We all have them. We all tell them. We share some; we keep others hidden away and shout others from the rooftops. How do we decide which ones to share? I believe it may work the same when writing a song, and you need the very best of all words for the perfect song. Lennon and McCartney proved that. Brian Wilson lived that. Bruce Springsteen preaches that. Jon Bon Jovi gets that done in fine fashion. They bless us with rich stories of words and sounds of music which tell our stories better than we could have ever hoped to. How do they know?
They know because they have a gift. They’re aware they need to share the gift with others. How generous! We’ve met some wonderful musicians in the past seven or eight years who are local, some are not. We’ve discovered they are very down to earth for all being geniuses. I believe they are. Their messages are always positive, they are all very grateful people, too. You just don’t hear that from a bean counter, you know? There are difficulties, especially now during the Pandemic. Travel and late night gigs are tough on relationships. They make great sacrifices to share their creations with us. How lucky we are.
Writers? I’m finding out how hard it is to write a novel, not just gush words as we do when speaking. When I was a kid, I had a fantasy of being a reporter for our local newspaper. I wanted to see my name in print. My dad worked there my entire life. I was on our school newspaper for a while, and it was cool to see your name in print. That fantasy remained a fantasy. As I got older, the fantasy morphed into writing a children’s book. I have a few manuscripts, I’m looking for a young artist to help me out. I’m contacting her after Christmas and hoping we can work together. She’s very good, and I know children love whimsical artwork in books.
Words, words, words. It’s hard to choose the right ones from time to time. Other times, they flow like a river. Writing against the tide can be difficult. But going with the flow isn’t always the right thing to do. I’m really enjoying the book I’m reading by Carol Gino, “Me and Mario.” It’s about her twenty-year relationship with Mario Puzo, author of The Godfather. Yesterday, as she as describing her learning from him about writing, this phrase struck me: “What you need to learn is the carpentry of writing.” She questioned him further, and he replied, “Writing can’t be taught but it can be learned. Carpentry is the nuts and bolts of writing.” And there you have it. Ms. Gino, if you read this, know I’m fascinated by the advice he gave you. Thank you for sharing it with the world.
One thing our entire family learned from Dad had to do with quality paper. Newsprint has transformed over the years, from 1952 until present day. They have shaved it down, the width is much less than years ago. The thickness of the paper has gone from much thicker to onion skin thin. While the Babe and still took the paper, I remarked the paper itself was so thin you could see through it, making it hard for aging eyes to read. In a bright light, you could see the shadow of the next page interfere with what you were attempting to read. Poor quality.
And don’t get me started about printed books! Oh my gosh, the slick glossy paper is the stuff they make my dreams of. It would be so expensive to have a book printed on that. I’m jealous of the folks that can do that. Maybe someday, I can too. You never know. Thanks, Dad. It’s funny when someone else in our family and I look at a book, we open and feel the pages. “Excellent stuff, Dad would approve.” It’s a warm, wonderful memory. I know, we’re a weird lot.
With that fond memory, it’s time to get back to writing. It’s been a great day so far, and I’m working so it continues. Thank you for reading today, hope you return tomorrow. I’ll be here, as usual. Be Safe. Be Courteous. Be Kind. Be Thoughtful. Let’s all work to make this world a kinder place. Thank you.
I’m amazed at the number of “elderly” (our age) people who tell us their kids won’t let them leave the house. What? They don’t live under the same roof at all, but the kids are making their parents stay home. It makes me wonder. Our kids just ask what we’re doing. Does that mean they don’t love us? Hardly. One of the kids picked up toilet paper for us when we couldn’t find any in our stores. Other than that, we speak to them and check in about everyday life but don’t go further than that. Is it that they trust us to be cautious? Is it they don’t think of us becoming ill and dying from it? I choose to look at it that they think we know what to do. What do you think? Have you told your parents to stay home? Our mom doesn’t listen too well. At nearly 91, she still insists on going to Walgreen’s and Hy Vee for groceries herself. She has a good chance at becoming exposed. I’d rather not be exposed.
Our Hamburger Night was good again. We visited and made plans for Taco Night tonight. The Babe heads up the kitchen staff for that. I’m not able to lift anything heavy or stand for a long time, so I come along for moral support mostly. Not sure if I’ll join him or not. It’s that or stay home to let the dogs out, let the dogs in. Let the dogs out. Let the dogs in. Let the dogs out. Let the dogs in. You get the idea.
i’m putting together some notes for the rest of my book. I need more meat in the story at certain chapters. It’ll be hard (maybe) to get another 8K words. Once they start, though, they come easier. It’s not impossible. Just need to get to it. I hope to hear from my book coach in a couple of weeks and see what the assessment of my first three chapters is. At a much younger age I used to agonize over such things. I don’t anymore. I do hope it comes back favorably though. If not, back to the drawing board.
I remain hopeful our Veterans graves will be decorated with the American flags this Memorial Day. It would be a shame if they remained bare. A news story yesterday stated the VA is not allowing groups such as the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to plant the flags as they usually do. The National Cemeteries in Long Island, New York have 500,000 graves in them. It sounds as if it will not be allowed at all. I understand the social distancing, believe me. I would think that even if they worked in pairs the Boy and Girl Scouts could find a way to socially distance and still be able to plant the flags. Yes, it is a symbolic gesture, but it is an important one I believe. After all, people are allowed to go the store now, and even pick up dinner from a restaurant. It will be interesting to see what happens. I hope someone regains their mind to let them put the flags in.
The remainder day will probably go quickly. We will start serving tacos to some hungry veterans and Honor Guard members after 4 p.m. More talking with friends tonight, and hoping everyone is well. It will be a good afternoon. Until it’s time for me to leave, I’ll do a little more editing and planning. I hope you all have a good rest of the day, stay safe, and keep up the social distancing. See you back here tomorrow!
Have you seen the memes about this year, so far? I love some of them. Most worthless purchase for Christmas 2019? A 2020 Planner! Yuk it up, folks! We’re here all week! I would bet more folks learned about the Ten Plagues of Egypt than during any Catechism Class on record. Seriously, I’m just glad there have been no floods to go with this (at least, so far). Too many people were underserved during that horror of last year. Some are still homeless.
All ten of these awful plagues would more seriously impact our lives than staying home would. Blood in the water? Horrid. Frogs? I cannot imagine. Maybe they’d eat the Japanese beetles this year that have destroyed our Linden tree leaves the past two years. Shows the impact of nature. Lice or Gnats? Yecchhhh! Death of Livestock? I tear up when I see the cattle freezing in the Western part of Nebraska during the blizzards of the plains. So sad. Boils? Have you ever had one? I had one on my thumb as a kid. Had to soak it in Epsom salts. I think that was the old school cure for everything. Finally went away. Hail? We’ve had horrible hailstorms in Nebraska the past ten years or so. We replaced siding on our old house twice. Total damages were at least $17K each time. That’s not counting roof, cars, and other things. They’re expensive.
Locusts? I’ve been misinformed all my life. Cicadas are what I’ve been told were locusts. Lies, I tell you! But Cicadas are what make that awesome sound on a hot summer evening. Or afternoon. There is a hornet called a Cicada killer. They’re super ugly and lethal. To Cicadas. Darkness. A permanent eclipse would be weird. Anyone who’s ever gone to Alaska or even in Canada are weirded out by the short nights. Your internal clock would be confused for sure. The last is the worst thing I can imagine. Death of all firstborn children. We will not address that, it is the most horrible fate to put on someone. God made His point.
Confession: It was a goal for me last week to layer and pin three or four small quilts for quilting. I failed totally on that one. I could beat myself up, but I won’t. It’ll get done. I’m looking at this week. We’ll visit that topic again later in the week.
A goal for today is to get as far as I can in correcting punctuation, spellings, reducing overused words, etc., in my novel. I had a great start yesterday, hit the wrong key and had to escape. All 250 corrections I made were wiped out. Do over starts today, when I’m finished with this. I think making those corrections in the entire manuscript will help me expand some places and tighten up others. It’s all a learning process. This appears to be the best plan as of this moment.
And how do you take it when you realize something wasn’t a good way to go, or a good choice? Not a major life thing, but say in a project, artwork or otherwise? If no one is around, I take it well. I think. Well, maybe not. I’m usually glad no one knows. In my personal life, my worst mistakes have been because I was lonely. Think about it. My worst mistakes in writing, art, quilting, etc., are due to lack of experience. Lack of knowledge. Personal mistakes can be from lack of knowledge or experience too. One thing I’m working on is to learn to be silent if someone is telling me about my writing. I have read it’s not meant to be a conversation. It’s a report, a monologue if you will, with their feedback on your story or work. You cannot defend what and how you wrote or drew or painted. You need to be open to suggestion. You also have to learn to not take things personally. I need to do that. Deep inside, I know I have something to offer. If someone’s take on it is “you’re terrible.” I can simply thank them for their input and move on. Right?
The worst thing I could do is figure Pro Writing Aid can make all my corrections for me and I don’t need to proofread it again. Baloney! There have been many times it tells me I’ve mixed up a word for another when I haven’t . The things I’m learning along the way are really eye opening about our language, the meaning of words, and how important they are. Kind of like writing a song. I probably couldn’t do the music part but I could do lyrics, I believe. It’d take some learning, but it would be an awesome experience. I can read music, but it’s been a very long time. Bucket list!
Our class has a member, Anna Merola, who was originally from Italy. I did not know that until we were reunited through Facebook. She was such a nice girl, fun, intelligent, and someone I’d love to see again. Through the pandemic, we’ve shared reports, along with other classmates, and her best advice through this whole thing has been to stay home. She has and I know it’s been hard. She’s a widow and misses her children, grandchildren, like the rest of us. It has been a good thing about this pandemic is getting to know her again. We’re sorry she cannot make the trip to the U.S.A. from Italy in June as she planned. Maybe another time, Anna. Stay safe and healthy. Caio, baby!
With my 50th Class Reunion this year, it’s opened my brain to do a lot of thinking. If anyone may have been as self conscious as I was during those years from 9th grade to 12th grade and beyond, it’s easier to understand the saying above. I was a horrible mess. It was my lack of confidence. My inability to speak up. My lack of asking questions. My lack of setting boundaries. My learning what rights I have as a member of the human race. No early teenage kid knows this stuff. Do they? Did you? From the sidelines where the wallflowers and I were, it seemed the kids in Debate and Drama and Chorus had no issues with confidence. After all, they could speak, sing, and act in front of hundreds of people. And the Honor Roll kids were so smart, they oozed intelligence. They were headed somewhere. The athletes and cheerleaders, everyone wanted to be them. I did. They had perfect lives we all envied.
I couldn’t do any of that. I couldn’t draw well, even though I took mostly Art classes for electives. I was best at Lettering and Layout. I wanted to take Drafting, but wasn’t allowed to because there were no other girls. Coach Ponsiego was ok with it. Sister Peter Julian put the kibosh on my registering. She was my advisor for that year, and said, “Absolutely NOT. You have no business there as shy as you are.” Maybe it would have gotten me out of my shell sooner. Fifteen years sooner. As much as I hated Home Ec, I did learn to love making clothing, decorating, costumes, and now quilting. The art training didn’t go to waste, although I need to take drawing and painting again. I will. After my book is published. I have always loved to write. I wanted to, be a reporter, but didn’t know how to start. College? My parents couldn’t afford it, and I only earned $1.25 and hour, I think.
I’m off to work more on my book, “These Walls DO Talk.” (Working title.) I’m thankful for your visit today. I hope you return tomorrow, and we’ll chat some more. I appreciate you so much! Take care. I hope you have a fabulous day!