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December 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.


This month I feature the perfect picture book for December. Mia's Nutcracker Ballet.  It is written by Robin Farley and illustrated by Olga Ivanov and Aleksey Ivanov. Published by HarperCollins (September 24, 2013)



HarperCollins has this to say about Mia's Nutcracker Ballet.


When Mia's grandfather comes to visit for the holidays, he gives Mia a very special present—a nutcracker. As grandfather tells Mia about his gift and the story of the dance, Mia is transported to the role of Clara in this clever tale within a tale.

The first Mia picture book, Mia's Nutcracker Ballet is sure to be a hit with four-to eight-year-olds.




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


Writers 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 words are SPECIAL GIFT. This month’s exercise is to use the words "special gift" in a poem, story or whatever suits your fancy. Any form of the words are acceptable. Maybe your writing will end up being a special gift for someone!


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! And I'd love to see what you've written for these exercises. If you would like a critique, I'll critique up to 200 words free. Email me at: ciwrites@live.com.



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 the following quote, "I like to take my character for walks. Pretty soon I am the character." -- Deborah Norse Lattimore. If you don't get to know your characters, your reader won't either. Take them with you on your walks, to the store, wherever you go. Let them surprise you with their chatter and don't forget to watch how they interact with others.


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






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