Sunday, October 25, 2015

Halloweensie Entry: Dark's Knight

Susanna Leonard Hill's Halloweensie contest starts today. The rules: Write a 100 word or less Halloween children's story using the words costume, dark and haunt. My entry for this year is:

Dark's Knight
by Johnell DeWitt

Dark didn’t usually need a costume. He scared most kids without one. But this year, Dark wanted to trick or treat, and people always stopped handing out candy when he showed up. 

He could try something funny. But the clown nose with nothing behind it looked even scarier. 

Something sparkly? But all the glitter in the world couldn’t make Dark shine. 

He needed something solid. 

He slipped into an old house and oozed into the lighted spaces. The house looked spooky, but he couldn’t trick or treat as a haunted house. 

Then he saw it, guarding the corner…A knight!

PiBoIdMo Registration Opens!

Hi all. Quick note to tell you that Picture Book Idea a Month--PiBoIdMo--is open for registration. 


My third year running and I've loved it every year. Fantastic information, great people to meet and connect with and a chance to come up with 30 new ideas for picture books. 

Register on Tara Lazar's site here:

And stay tuned for tomorrow. My Halloweensie entry will be going up. 

Dancing a happy dance. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Artist Dates

Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way, encourages authors and other creative types to take themselves on an artist date every week (see video above). I love this idea. I've found some serendipitous ways to take myself on an artist's date, such as when I walked my youngest through a Virginia forest in spring a few years ago. 

Simply being more mindful of my surroundings has helped rejuvenate my creative soul. The "stop and smell the roses" line is worth heeding. 

So here's a stop and watch the sidewalk moment for any of you who may need a quick creative boost:

Have a great week.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Something Weensie This Way Comes

That time of year again! Susanna Leonard Hill's Halloweensie writing contest. 

Rules: In 100 words or less, write a Halloween story using the words costumedark, and haunt. You can use variations of the word, such as haunted, but the whole word must be in it. No art notes allowed. 

I did it last year and had a blast. So get your cackle on and start writing.

Good luck.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Goal and A Plan

My new furry muse.

I had a writing routine before we picked up and moved last year. I haven't quite recovered it, what with trying to learn a new language, adapt to a different country and move things in all over again. 

We acquired a few distractions within the past year as well: a dog we rescued from an abusive home; and a kitten (pictured above) stranded in a gutter outside our house. I can't sit in my chair to write without her snuggling behind me or climbing on my lap. If I even look cross ways at my chair, she'll hop up inside and snuggle on in.

All this to say, distractions exist, but this week, I decided to take charge of them instead of them taking charge of me. I set a goal for myself, 10 submission-ready picture book manuscripts by the middle of November. Why November? I signed up for a writing conference I will get to attend in person. 

Besides the two mini-conferences I helped organized through my last writing group, this will be the second in-person writing event I've been able to attend. 

I may not get my manuscripts truly submission ready in that short of a time. I've revised "submission ready" stories many times over based on feedback from the agents who've commented on them. 

But I'm getting close to my goal already. I pulled out some promising old drafts and started revising them today. Fresh eyes on an old story are one of the best tricks to revising I've found. I can see where I've improved. I can also see the nuggets of voice I started to lose after letting too many voices dictate the tone of my story. 

It's a fine balance between taking in suggestions without twisting your story into someone else's. 

As of now, I have nine drafts I've started revising and another two in mind to add to the list. That's a lot of critiques to swap for and a lot of time making every word count. But I feel energized having a goal and a plan in place. And a deadline with an excursion attached. I'm finally getting my groove back. Now if I could just get my chair back.

Have a great week.