Free Course in Writing Nonfiction!

NF Social MediaFebruary brings cold temperatures, thoughts of love and nonfiction fest.  I’m looking forward to the NF Chicks’ nonfiction fest the most.

The nonfiction fest is a month-long crash course in writing nonfiction for children.  They have lined up 29 award winning nonfiction authors and people in the publishing industry to help us learn the craft of writing NF.  There will be daily posts that include activities to get you writing and researching.

The best part…it’s FREE and there will be prizes!!!

Registration begins January 15 and ends January 31.  Join the Facebook group and visit their website for directions to register.  Now you have plenty of time to get a fresh new notebook to take notes in!

According to their website,  this is the all-star line-up:

Karen Blumenthal/Candace Fleming
Beth Anderson
Carla McClafferty
Melissa Stewart
Heidi Stemple
Barb Kramer
Sophia Gholz
Nancy Turminelly
Donna Bowman
Mary Kay Carson
Traci Sorrell
Cynthia Levinson
Jen Bryant
Jill Esbaum
Kerry McManus, Marketing Director
Don Tate
Meeg Pincus
Lisa Schnell
Susannah Deevers
Vivian Kirkfield
Kelly Halls
Stacey Graham, agent
Bethany Hegedus
Alice Duncan
Rob Sanders
Lesa Cline-Ransome
Chris Mihaly
Steve Swinburne

Make sure you go follow all of these awesome, generous people on Twitter & Facebook.

How can you pass up an opportunity to learn (for free!) from these incredible talents? Go to their Facebook for all of the details and to sign up.

Let me know if you sign up so I can say HI!

Top 10 (or more) Awesome Resources for Writers

“On my desk is a stack of books. Some people call them mentor texts; I call them guardian angels. These are the books that guide me with a whisper of words, inspiring me to find my own voice as I write. They give me the knowledge and wisdom of what good-quality writing sounds and feels like.”

– Georgia Heard,

Finding the Heart of Nonfiction

Books

There is a plethora of books on the craft of writing, but these are my guardian angels. The books I go to time and time again.

WRITING PICTURE BOOKS-A HANDS-ON GUIDE FROM STORY CREATION TO PUBLICATION, by Ann Whitford Paul is the bible of writing for children.  The author writing for childrenhelps you to develop the skills needed to create a well written picture book.  Ms.Paul walks your through generating ideas, creating characters, identifying your point of view, crafting attention grabbing beginnings, plot, word count and tackling rhyme.  At the end of each chapter, you have an assignment that will help build your story layer by layer.  This is a MUST HAVE if you want to write picture books.

ANATOMY OF NONFICTION – WRITING TRUE STORIES FOR CHILDREN, Margery Facklam and Peggy Thomas and FINDING THE HEART OF NONFICTION – TEACHING 7 ESSENTIAL CRAFT TOOLS WITH MENTOR TEXTS, Georgia Heard.

Anatomy of NFThese two books are my nonfiction go to advisors.  ANATOMY OF NONFICTION delves into the nuts and bolts of research, and finding the voice of your story (Extremely important!). The authors also walk you step-by-step through submission and different avenues to pursue for publication.

NF nutshellLike the Georgia Heard quote above, FINDING THE HEART teaches you how to use mentor texts as a “guardian angel” to guide your writing so that your topic reads like a traditional story book, not a dry emotionless book report.

 

Several other books that guide me are Martha Alderson’s WRITING BLOCKBUSTER PLOTS and SAVE THE CAT , Blake Snyder, and SAVE THE CAT WRITES A NOVEL by Jessica Brody.

Next topic? How about my favorite websites?  One thing about the kidlit community is that they are the most generous and kindest people around.  Most of these author/writer websites or blogs offer contests, advice, and writing challenges.  If you find anything helpful on these sites, please let them know by either writing a review or purchase their books.

In no particular order-

  1.  SCBWI.org  If you want to be a kidlit author, joining SCBWI is the best money you will ever spend.
  2. Kidlit411  your one stop information shop for children’s writers and illustrators. They also list upcoming contests, information of writing query letters, marketing, courses, and the list goes on.  You’ve got to visit to see everything!
  3. Susanna Hill – offers fun contests, critiques and the Art of Arc courses
  4. Manuscripts & Magnolias – great interviews with debut authors a year after their books are released.  You get some great insight from newly published authors.
  5. Vivian Kirkfield  #50precious words contest, critique services, author interviews, giveaways
  6. Julie Hedlund founder of the 12X12 Challenge (awesome writing community!), Complete Picture Book System and Picture Book Summit

There are hundreds of other great websites out there.  The more you connect with the kidlit community, the more you find!

I want to leave you with one more resources that has helped my writing tremendously.  The Writing Barn in Austin, Texas, offers on-site and online courses.  I completed a course in the fall with award winning, nonfiction author Nancy Churnin. The course was about breathing life into your nonfiction work.  The classes were small and we met online once a week.  It was almost like having a one -on-one mentorship with her.  It was, hands down, THE best writing course I have taken.

I hope that these resources will help you as much as they have helped me.  I’d love to hear your favorite resources, so please leave me a comment and share my blog so that it may help others on their journey to publication. Also, Don’t forget to subscribe so that you can be notified of my next post which is  all about a really fun, free and informational crash course in writing nonfiction!

 

“An author makes you notice, makes you pay attention, and this is a great gift.”

-Anne Lamont, Bird by Bird

 

Mentor Monday

So sorry to have been absent for so long! 2018 has not gotten off to a great start.  Between traveling to Houston twice for my father’s surgery, an ice storm  trapping in us in the hospital and the flu/strep/pneumonia hitting everyone in my household it’s been one heck of a ride!

But, I’m jumping back on the wagon and working on revisions and researching a new nonfiction topic that I think will be quite fun. I’ve got several debut authors lined up for some interviews and giveaways, so make sure you subscribe to the blog!. You can also be on the lookout for my #50PreciousWords challenge (you can se my previous entry here) entry over at author Vivian Kirkfield’s web site.  If you aren’t familiar with Vivian, please go visit her blog. She not only writes fabulous books but has tons of activities for kids and writers alike.

I’ve been trying to find more nonfiction books to evaluate since I prefer to write nonfiction, but today’s book is  fiction with a twist. Wilma Rudolph was the fastest woman in the world in 1960. This lovely story of friendship revolves quickestkidinclarksvillearound two girls who think they are the quickest girls in Clarksville, Tennessee, Wilma Rudolph’s hometown.

So, I present, Pat Zietlow Miller’s The Quickest Kid in Clarksville.

The Quickest Kid in Clarksville  Mentor Study Worksheet

Remember, you can find a blank copy of the Mentor Study Worksheet here.

Also, do an author a favor, if you read a book, please leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads.

Till next time!

J

 

Monster’s Nightmare

Here is my second entry into Susanna Hill’s Halloweensie contest.

You can find my first entry, When Your Monster Has the Sneazles,  here.

 

Monster’s Nightmare

(91 words)

 

Monster crouched in the dark, listening for his quarry.

DA DUM DUM, DA DUM DUM

His hearts pounded in his chest.

Inch-by-inch, Monster crept through the Halloween shadows toward the door.

With sweaty paws, he reached out and turned the knob.

CREEAKKK

Easing the door open, he saw something sitting at the table.

Monster froze and watched, waiting for the right time to pounce.

CRINKLE, CRINKLE

Get ready…

CHOMP, CHOMP

Get set…

Mmmmmm

GO!

Monster sprang through the door.

GRRRRR!

“I caught you Mom! You’ve been eating the candy corn.”

Halloweensie 2017

*Those who got this yesterday, my apologies, I goofed and scheduled it for the wrong day.  I hope you will read it again as changes have been make and links added.

Yay!  It’s here!  Susanna Leonard Hill’s annual Halloweensie contest.

If you aren’t familiar with this writing contest you are missing out.  The contest is designed for children’s writers to really stretch their muscle, so to speak.  You are given three Halloween related words (this year they are monster, shadow and candy corn) that you MUST use in your story.  Your story can be rhyming, it can be a poem, really pretty much anything goes as long as it’s for young children, and the biggie, no more than 100 words.  100 words.  That is SO hard to do.

This year, I’ve written two stories.  One is a pays homage to author and contest hostess, Susanna Hill and her recently published book WHEN YOUR ELEPHANT HAS THE SNIFFLES.  I ADORE this book and it’s companion WHEN YOUR LION NEEDS A BATH. Making it’s debut in January 2018 is WHEN YOUR LLAMA NEEDS A HAIRCUT.  Llama look SO cute!  I can’t wait to add it to my collection.  

When I saw this years three words, I knew exactly the story I had to tell.  It just flowed from my fingertips!  I hope that she likes it.  You can read my first entry below.

 

When Your Monster has the Sneazles

(91 words)

When your monster has the Sneazles, you must take care of him.

Sneazles can be quite serious. You don’t want him to burn the house down.

Put him to bed, even if he tells you he’s OK.

Make him comfy and bring him his favorite bug to snuggle.

Soon, he will get bored and want to make shadows on the wall.

Then, he will be hungry. Feed him candy corn – they’ll make him feel better.

When he feels better he’ll want to trick-or-treat the neighbor.

But watch out for…

Gr.  Gr.  Grazooo!

He’s allergic to the neighbor’s cat.

 

 

Click here to find my second entry, Monster’s Nightmare.