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March 2017

March 1, 2017

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May 2015


Whimsy, Words, and Wisdom








Definition: Endearing quaintness. The quality of being playfully humorous, especially in an endearing way.


As a children’s writer, whimsy is a good thing to incorporate into your writing. You want your stories to be endearing, playful and humorous.




Watercolor by Carol Iverson




This month I  feature the picture book Emma the Mouse Brings Joy to the House by Susan Ross and illustrated by Nick White.

Published by Susan Ross (September 15, 2012)


Amazon.com has this to say.


Emma the Mouse Brings Joy to the House is about childhood cancer, specifically the loss of hair due to chemotherapy treatments. The subject is approached in a whimsical, non-threatening manner. Sydney Manning's best friend is a little mouse named Emma Longtail. Emma and her family live in Sydney's dollhouse. Emma wants hair just like Sydney's and comes up with ingenious ways to look just like her friend. When Sydney develops leukemia Emma uses her ingenuity to help her friend cope with her hair loss. Children who are experiencing baldness personally or vicariously through a family member or friend will find this story reassuring.




The author integrates humour into a touching tale to ensure that her pre-school and primary-aged audience will find this story as entertaining as her other picture books. This is a tale of friendship, love, courage, hope and happy endings. Make a mouse. Instructions included.


Definition: Meaningful combinations of sounds that are a unit of language or its representation in a text.

As a writer, you love words. We use words to communicate and express ideas. We use words to make sentences. We use sentences to make paragraphs. And we use paragraphs to make stories. It’s important to use the best words possible.


This month’s word is – ta da!  – MOUSE. This month’s exercise is to use the word “mouse” in  a short story, poem, or whatever suits your fancy. Any form of the word mouse is acceptable. I encourage you to do each month’s exercises and in six months you will have six new pieces of writing. In twelve months, you will have twelve. I say go for it!



Definition: Accumulated knowledge of life or of a sphere of activity that has been gained through experience.

I have been writing for children for over 30 years. I have published eight books and taught several writing classes through the Loft Literary Center, community education and at conferences.


This month's bit of wisdom is in the following quote:

“There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic.”

Diane Setterfield, The Thirteenth Tale

And if I may add - Don't worry about the "expert hands." Use your words as best you can and write the story only you can write. If you don't write it, it won't get written.


Watch for my next blog in early June where I will share more about whimsy, words and wisdom. Til then, choose your words wisely.






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March 1, 2017