“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.
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.
It was a treat to have a fun conversation with teacher and podcaster Corrina Allen of the wonderful Books Between Podcast for teachers, librarians, parents, or anyone interested in middle grade literature. I’m a listener and fan of the podcast, so it was especially neat to have a chance to be on the show!
Corrina and I talk about Zinnia and the Bees, the metaphors of yarn-bombing and bees, adolescence, recent books I’ve loved, when Roald Dahl visited my school, my favorite picture books of all time, and vermicomposting. You can take a listen here.
My last stop was Collage Collage in Vancouver BC (and my first time to that fantastic city!). It’s a very special art space for kids and we had a two hour slot to talk about the book and make yarn bees! How wonderful is that?