Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Review of STORM SONG by an Adorable Four-Year-Old

Click HERE for a YouTube review of STORM SONG by four-year-old Lola. She will make you smile, Big Time. She has a bit of trouble saying my last name (correct pronunciation is VEE Oh), but that's quite OK. She's given my book a million stars!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Storm's a Comin'!

Just popping in to tell you that my book,
is on sale this month for $1.00 in the Kindle Store. Grab your copy today!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Writing Step-by-Step Directions

Brrrrr....It’s cold outside! Many people who live in warm places, such as deserts and tropical islands, have never felt the cold or seen snow. Do you think you could teach someone how to build a snowman (or snowwoman)? If there were no pictures of snowmen, do you think you could WRITE instructions to help someone turn snowflakes into snow people?

Snowflake to Snowman: Step-by-step
1. Find books at the library or school about cold weather.
2. Read about snow.
3. If there’s snow where you live, go outside and look at the flakes falling on the ground. Write down notes about what you see to help you remember what you discover about the snow. How does snow feel on your hands? Does it have a smell? Is it heavy? Make a snowball. How is it different from snowflakes.
4. Go inside where it’s nice and warm. (You might need a cup of hot chocolate!)
5. Pull out a snowy-white piece of paper.
6. Write numbers all the way down the page.
7. Next to each number, write down instructions on how to build a snowman. Even if you’ve never built one before, fill the page with all of the ideas you can imagine from the books you’ve looked at about snow and your own memories from studying the snow outside.
8. Read everything you wrote on your page aloud. Did you remember to write down everything you should do to build a snowman?
9. If there is still snow on the ground, bundle up and go outside. Have fun following your step-by-step snowman building instructions.
10. Finish building your snowman with a big smile. (Snowmen like to smile, too.)
11. Go back inside where it’s nice and warm. You might need another cup of hot chocolate. With marshmallows.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Write in 3-D!

Hello from Margie!

What draws you into a story?
The plot?
The characters?
The best is when authors surprise you. Anyone can create a tough football player or a bratty sibling, but the best characters are those who do the unexpected.

How about a football player who also loves collecting seashells? How about we take it one step further and say he really collects the shells for his little sister, and he would do anything to make her happy? See what we did? Not only did we learn something interesting about this character, but we also learned just what kind of brother he is.

Let's tackle the annoying sibling.
Picture a five year old who always barges into his big sister's room. All he wants to do is mess with her stuff. She doesn't like this at all. One day, he runs in and the big sister is crying on her bed. Instead of going through her things, he climbs onto the bed, cuddles with her, and tries to make her feel better. We see this is a sibling who cares. Know what else we learned? He's probably not that bratty. He just wants to be with his big sis.

The goal is to make characters that care or like different things. You want to show your readers all the different angles of this person. Kind of like a 3-D movie. In 2D, we only see so much, but put on those 3-D glasses, and it's a whole new experience.

Want to give it a shot? Go for the GOAL!

Below are some plain characters. Can you add something interesting and unexpected to spice them up? 

1.     A boy who gets straight As and collects bugs

2.     An cranky neighbor who doesn't like people walking on his grass

3.     A race car driver

4.     A teacher

5.     A rich actor


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hurray for Snow Days!


Grab a pencil.
Study the photo below. (Yep, that's ME. I LOVE the snow!!)

Put yourself in my shoes (or snowshoes or boots). Answer these questions in writing:

Where are you?
What is the weather like? What's the forecast?
How did you get there?
What are you thinking?
How do you feel? (warm, cold, happy, excited, anxious)
What happened to your gloves?
What are you holding in your hand?
What will you do next?

Now, pick a starting place from your answers above and begin your story. If you get stuck, see if you can head out into the snow. Hopefully, the snowflakes will offer up some inspiration.

: )

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sarah Somebody Won the Giveaway

Will the Sarah who posted:  Would love to win it. It has been on my to read list far too long already get in touch with Ellen Jensen Abbott (ellenjensenabbottATgmailDOTcom)? YOU WON WATERSMEET!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What is Alliteration?

What is alliteration? Simply, it's a string of similar sounds at the start of several words in a sentence.
Why use alliteration? Mostly, it makes reading more musical and flowing, which is fun for friends to follow!

When I'm writing or editing (fixing and improving something I've written), and I'm looking for more interesting or unusual words to use, I will often choose words to create alliteration.

For example, instead of writing: " pretty, nosy cat" you could write, "cute, curious cat."
Instead of writing: "my friend mixed tomato sauce" you could write, "my sister stirred spaghetti sauce." If you go overboard with the alliteration, you'll end up with tongue twisters, which are really hard to read out loud without making mistakes.

Here are a couple of examples:

"If Stu chews shoes, should Stu choose the shoes he chews?" and "Santa's short suit shrunk."

You can read more tongue twisters here: http://www.funenglishgames.com/funstuff/tonguetwisters.html

While you're at it, check out a book called The Spaghetti Slurping Sewer Serpent. It was written by a friend of mine, Laura Ripes, and it's filled with tons of "S" alliteration.
Now try writing some alliteration and tongue twisters yourself!