“By developing their own process and their own writer’s life, [kids] can solidify a practice that will serve them now and later by absorbing narrative components, honing writing techniques, and, perhaps most importantly, nurturing the ability to channel their feelings and experiences into creativity and stories— a meaningful practice they can lean on their whole lives.”
“Story Breath: Inspiration for Plot and Pace in Picture Books!”
And check out that tender, dreamy, hopeful magazine cover by my friend, Maple Lam!
This piece encapsulates my view of what makes the form so special and how to inspire your particular story’s unique energy and movement. (And the accompanying darling dragon sketch is by illustrator Faith Pray.)
“…picture books are different. Special. Distinct…Just like breath, each [one] has its own flow, rhythms, patterns.”
I offer a rationale for the metaphor of breath for plot and pace as well as six common “breath beats” from inhale to held breath to gasp.
Plus, there are examples of those “breath beats” from all the wonderful picture books in the image below!
Big thanks to SCBWI for the opportunity to have my work in a publication I’ve been reading and enjoying for so many years.
The first “Revise, Receive, Revitalize” workshop series was truly special and such a rewarding experience of empowering other writers, I’m offering another! It’ll start February 27th for a total of four consecutive Saturday mornings from 10 – 12:30 (Pacific). This is a space for camaraderie, discovery, and encouragement as you develop your unique voice, deepen your understanding of the form, and meaningfully revise one picture book manuscript. Please reach out if you’d like more information, to secure a scholarship, or to sign up!
It’ll be my debut in the form, and it’s the result of writing picture book manuscripts for 15 years. It’s a simple exploration of the creative process, a primer for makers, an encouraging manual and memoir for artists of any age.
It is not only my book. It is illustrated by my friend Mags DeRoma, an incredibly talented artist who’s brought not just her talent, but her spirit of adventure and collaboration to the project and our partnership, for which I’m forever grateful.
It is edited by Mabel Hsu, our dream editor and a dream to work with.
I’m beyond happy to share this news with you and beyond excited to share the book itself.
(Big shout to Hannah Mann for shepherding this project and being open to our rule-breaking path from the jump.)
I’m so excited to be facilitating this picture book revision workshop series! It’s going to be really special!
About the workshop series: A series of four two-hour live, video workshop group sessions. Each meeting will include segments with: INSPIRATION PEER INPUT & INSTRUCTION
The goal is for you to get the support, encouragement, guidance, and camaraderie you need to revise one picture book manuscript while exploring, deepening, and energizing your voice and writing process.
In honor of 20 episodes of This Writer’s Life, a few weeks back I published a special compilation of creative advice from all of them!
One of my very favorite parts of this project is that each video features someone I admire offering a piece of creative advice for young writers. That’s why we created Creative Advice Compilation #1!
In the YouTube video, you’ll behold 20 creative advice-givers sharing their experience and wise guidance from their own process with young writers!
My hope is that you will be as inspired as I am by every person and what they have to share. Enormous gratitude to each and every one! And links to their websites are over in the show notes on YouTube so you can find out more about them while you’re there!
This journal contains 10 creative writing activities aimed at 8 to 12-year-olds that can be used in conjunction with corresponding This Writer’s Life episodes on YouTube or explored on their own. I hope it’s of use to budding writers to explore story, language, and imagination, all things they might need right now.
I’m super thrilled to be offering a series of three creative writing workshops for kids at Makers Mess in Silver Lake here in LA! The coolest part? Each session is offered at two different times to fit your and your child’s schedule—Thursday afternoons or Saturday mornings!
One of my favorite things is helping kids express and develop their unique voices and imaginations, and that’s exactly the goal of these workshops for 8 to 12-year-olds! We’ll start with the beginning, of course, crafting a character and writing the scene that starts the engine of the story. In the other two sessions, we’ll write action and comparisons, we’ll revise, and participants will get to be inspired by one another and have some writing conferencing with me as the facilitator. At the close, kid writers will get to take away a Storymap, their story(!), and a special surprise to honor their creativity and accomplishment throughout the three sessions.
The first workshop? Thursday, March 12th or Saturday, March 14th.