Thursday, May 31, 2012

We've Got This Covered

Ever see a book cover and think, I've seen that before, but it was on a different book and it was by a different author?

Lately, I've seen a lot of covers with:
a kid yelling or running or yelling and running
a shoe, a dress, or one item of clothing on a plain background
large, almost 3-D fonts
black background with red object
a cartoonish girl in an active pose (like climbing a tree)
a symbol
a pair holding hands
a robot, monster, or alien doing something a child might do
teen facing road, city, or fantasy land and all we see is his/her back.
the almost kiss

Publishers figure out what works and whether by accident or on purpose, book covers end up similar. But you don't have to be a copycat.

Pick either 1 or 2 below and become a book designer.
1. Create a book cover based on one of your stories.
2. During peer editing sessions, draw the cover of your classmate's story and have him/her do the same. Do it secretly, and then on the big reveal, see if both of you have the same idea for a book cover.
*Make covers eye-catching and unique. Work with color, font, a photo, or even an art project that you like.

Oh, and guess what? I haven't seen too many like this, have you?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Clichés, Clear as a Bell

Ever wonder if your writing is filled with clichés?

What IS a cliché, anyway?

A cliché is simply an idea, theme, phrase, expression or something that’s overused. And it’s a “no-no” in writing. We wouldn’t want to use overused things would we? Unless we’re recycling, but that’s a whole different ballgame…WHOOPS! That ballgame expression is a cliché! (So is the title of this blog post, by the way.)

If you click HERE,
you’ll see the best alphabetical list of clichés I have ever seen! It’s from Laura Hayden's "Left-Brain- Right Brain/Creativity Program.” Like Laura’s says, phrases like bite the dust, a dark and stormy night, silence is golden, countless hours, eye for an eye, etc. “make for great book titles but lousy writing.”

Also, why we’re on the subject of clichés... Look at my list below and ask yourself if any of these overused plots have ended up in your stories lately.

Sick mom or dad who needs a medicine
Unpopular kid becomes popular
Superpowers that suddenly appear at age 13 or 16
A girl who can’t decide who she likes
Shy girl gets noticed by most popular boy
Boy must fulfill his destiny to become king
Story ends and it’s all been a dream
Peasant who is really royalty

If you must add a vampire, use it to take a bite out of your clichés!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Get Ready, Get Set, Write!

Don't think about this picture prompt too hard. Let 'er rip.

WHAT? You're stuck? Even after last week's tips about what to do if bogged down?

How about if I get you started?
Answer these questions to get your writing juices flowing:

What are the girls' names?
Are they friends?
Where are they going?
Where are they coming from?
Are they lost?
Are they with adults?
What's up ahead?
Are they scared, happy, sad, thoughtful?
What do they see? smell? hear?
What just happened?
What happens next?

**Oooh, I just got a great idea for a story!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Say Hello to Pencil Tips

Pencil Tips Writing WorkshopJacqueline Jules, who so kindly offered some great ways to improve your poetry a few weeks back, had me do a guest post on her blog called Pencil Tips. So, get on your running shoes and run right over there to read ARE YOU GETTING BOGGED DOWN? Ten Helpful Tips to Get You Writing Again by yours truly. *grin* HERE's the link. And while you're hanging out there, check out the older posts. You'll discover some great info, I promise.
Ready, Set, GOoooo!
: )

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Common Sense

I know. I KNOW! Poetry month is over, right? However, I couldn't resist introducing you to another poem. The poem below, Common Sense, is one that I often use when teaching poetry to kids in K-2. Why? Because it contains all the senses. Anytime you add more to your writing than just what you see, your writing becomes stronger and more interesting. This poem also has great rhythm and rhyme, and the author (*cough, cough*- ME) sneaks in fun vocabulary words like constellation and experiment.

When I read this poem I always add really cool actions, like sweeping my hands left to right to illustrate a gigantic rainbow or sticking out my tongue to taste that sunshine. I'm reading and going through the motions right now. Can you see? No? Well, use your imagination! Or, better yet, get up out of that chair and act out this poem on your own.

Virtual candy is optional. (*wink*)