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March 2017

March 1, 2017

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February 2016



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 February. A Crankenstein Valentine, written by Samantha Berger and illustrated by Dan Santat, published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Gift edition (December 16, 2014)



Amazon.com has this to say about A Crankenstein Valentine :


"See what happens to an ordinary kid on the most lovey-dovey, yuckiest day of the year-Valentine's Day!
Cheesy cards, allergy-inducing bouquets, and heart-shaped everything? It's enough to turn anyone into a monster!
But Crankenstein might just find a way to turn his sour day sweet... because even the crankiest monsters have hearts!"


I love how this is an out-of-the-way Valentine's Day picture book and it's one that kids will love also as they laugh all the way through it. Maybe you will too.

P.S. The word love is italicized on purpose. After all, that's what Valentine's Day is all about.




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 word is VALENTINE. This month’s exercise is to use the word "Valentine" in a poem, story or whatever suits your fancy. My challenge for you is to make it an out-of-the-way poem, story/etc. Think outside the Valentine box!


I encourage you to do all the exercises, and in six blogs you will have six new pieces of writing. In twelve blogs, you will have twelve new pieces of writing. 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 blog's bit of wisdom is this. If you love kids and love writing for them, or would love to write for them, you have to think like a kid, but not the kid you were, you need to write for the kid that lives in today's society. Go places where you find kids and observe them and take notes. Watch how they act and interact with each other and how they talk. Then go home and do what you love. Write.


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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March 1, 2017