Personification

Personification is having something that shouldn’t be viewed as a person, actually act like a person. Many children’s books give animals the ability to talk and drive, and do all sorts of things they shouldn’t be able to do. The personification I refer to involves inanimate objects, ie: a talkng table, or a talking tree with eyes and a mouth . . .

When I was a fifth grade language arts teacher, I explained Personification using an incident from my own life. I had recently gotten a puppy and it appeared that its former owner had used a broom to frighten it. Any time I got the broom out to sweep, that puppy (Joy) would run and hide. I’m ashamed to say I used that knowledge to help train her. She didn’t always listen to the word “No!”, so I would get the broom and bounce the bristles on the floor and say, “Mr. Broom says “NO! DONT DO THAT!” and it would have the desired effect.

I mentioned to my students that when I pretended like the broom was talking . . . I didn’t hit her with it, I just bounced the bristle part on the floor while pretending to talk for the broom . . . but when the broom was “talking”, that was an example of personification.

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Book Markets for Children’s Writers

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was rounding up my Writer’s books and magazines – the ones that help me become a better writer, or find markets, etc . . . I’m putting them all together close to my computer so I will be inspired or perhaps pick one up and peruse it.

The whole time I was teaching school, I was also spending time writing. I would buy various writer’s books so that I could do more with my writing, but between raising three sons (mostly alone) and writing lessons plans at home (one district actually graded my lesson plans and I spent hours on Sunday afternoons that could have been better spent doing something else . . . that county required certain verbs be used from Bloom’s Taxonomy in my lesson plans, as if what words I put in my lesson plans mattered more than what I intended to do and accomplish) . . . but I digress. I’m merely explaining why these books were bought and neglected over the years.

One of those books was Book Markets for Children’s Writers 2012. It boasts that it has 612 updated and verified listings and 73 completely new markets. I began to study it yesterday. I have children’s books written that I would like to try to sell. In this book I found the Category Index, which tells me the types of books certain publishers publish. This is a very valuable section for me, and I’ve already underlined categories related to my work.

This morning I went to amazon.com and looked for the same book. My copy is dated 2012 and I wondered how much a newer version would cost. There is a book called

Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market 2018: The Most Trusted Guide to Getting Published

Oct 19, 2017

by Cris Freese 
that looks similar. Since the 2017 book with the same title is by Chuck Sambuchino , I decided to see who my book is “by”.  Well, mine is a Writer’s Institute publication. I took a writing course from The Institute of Children’s Literature. It was a good course and this book may have been part of their materials. I never finished the course, but I almost did, and I learned quite a lot from them.
So, perhaps it’s not the same book. Mine has 616 pages and looks very thorough.
I was posting about this book to recommend it, but I’m not sure it can be purchased anywhere except the Institute of Children’s Literature. It says it’s a “Writer’s Institute Publications” book on the back of my copy. Here’s a website for them that comes from the back cover:
On their website, I found a book titled Book Markets for Children’s Writers 2017 and it is selling for $26.95. They also show other books, that are for sale, to help writers .
I’m not certain where I got my book, but I know it looks valuable to me as a writer of Children’s Literature.
As I search for ways to be a better writer and improve my number of manuscript sales, I share what I find that works for me in this blog. I don’t know if it will help you, but it might. It depends on what your goals are and what kind of writing you do – whether or not anything I blog here will help. I hope some of it does.
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Finding the Right Word

I was just writing on my proudofeverywrinkle blog (at wordpress.com) and used the word “clamor” for a group of dogs who would run to meet me . . . I wasn’t sure that word was correct, so I checked its definition. No, clamor is more of a noise. While I expect a group of dogs would make a clamor, it wasn’t the clamor that might knock me down.

I went to the obvious word “group”, but that was too mundane, too ordinary . . . I tried hoarde and a hoarde is first defined as a verb, but later I saw it can also be used as a noun to express a stash of something valuable that you keep hidden. . .

That still wasn’t exactly the word I sought, although I used it and started to hit the “publish” button . . .

It suddenly occurred to me that I could put the words in google, instead of the word I thought might do and that would give me the word I was looking for . . .  so,

a large group of dogs is called “a pack”.

I changed the word hoarde to pack and it read so much better.

Isn’t it funny how one word in a piece of writing can bother you until you get it exactly right?

I proofread (I put myself through college proofreading . . . or the pay from it certainly helped) everything. When a word I’ve written “jars me”, I assume it will jar anyone else who is reading it.

So I’ll take that word and work on it until I’m satisfied that it’s exactly what I mean.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t used the wrong word at the wrong time, but I try to get them right.

That’s part of being a writer . . . not just writing, but going back over what you’ve written and making sure every word is exactly what you meant to say.

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How Much Am I Writing?

Today is Sunday, May 21, 2017. I usually write off and on throughout the day. Since I don’t designate writing “times”, but rather write when motivated, I wondered how much I truly write daily. Today I will make a list and add to it every time I write something.

around 8:00 am, the poem that once was in my head, but I waited until I got to work to write down and then before I could, I got side-tracked and lost it . . . I worked on that poem again because about half of it came back to me.

around 8:20, I sat down and wrote about Repercussions, which was on my mind when I woke up because I have a problem I’m trying to deal with, and as usual, I’m considering all the possible outcomes. That was written on my proudofeverywrinkle blog here at wordpress.com

8:42 have printed out 14 pages of writing on Blindman book. I still get emotional, years later, when I read and remember this time in my life. But I think it might help others for me to finish writing and get this book published.  Right now I am printing out what I have written so far so I can read it as a whole book and see where the gaps are and what the first edit should involve. I’ve spent years writing this book. I do not want to spend years getting it to a publisher. But I cannot emotionally or mentally read through it too long at a time. 14 pages may sound like a few to peruse as they print, as I look through to see what pages still need to be printed out. (Once printed, I change the font to red, so I can see at a glance if something has already been printed and put in the blindman binder, or if it still needs a quick read-through and to be printed.) This was the hardest thing I’ve done so far today. I cannot believe I lived through these things I have written about; I cannot believe that in what is supposed to be the “free country” I was born in, that families endure such horrific events and no one seems to care or question it.

10:12 am – been outside adding four tomato plants that I started from seeds to the raised plant bed I designed. Also planted marigold seeds as they are good for a garden. I heard the birds chirping and hope they weren’t discussing the seeds they saw me planting. We’ll see if they get eaten or sprout. I took a few pictures. I designed this raised plant bed and it was easy to make. I may write an article about it when I see how well it works (or doesn’t) and I’ll have pictures to go with the article.

End of Day: I have collected several writing books and magazines and put them where I plan to keep all my writing info . . . books and magazines with markets, and techniques, etc. that I read and that help me be a better writer . . . they are being put in one general area. That may sound logical, and why didn’t I do it before? Doesn’t matter why not before; what matters is that I am doing it now.

I’ve decided to quit “beating myself up” for what I haven’t done and carry on with what I can do.

For this to be a Sunday, I’ve done a lot. The weatherman says the whole upcoming week will be very rainy. I guess I’ll be stuck in this house and that will increase my writing output.

I wrote a few emails to a friend. One described a bird . . . supposedly a wild bird . . . who landed on my porch railing and squawked at me in a harsh tone as if demanding that I fill up the bird feeder. When I did, he sat and watched me and quit squawking. Animals amaze me. I think they’re much more intelligent than we give them credit for.

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Grasshopper Writing

I find on days like today that my writing life is expressed like a grasshopper hopping. I’m here, there and yonder. (Is “yonder” just a southern expression, or do northerners use it too?).

Anyway, I’ve hopped from outlining a book that a nightmare triggered and woke me from at 4:40 am this morning. Could not get it out of my head. Wrote it down. There it’s gone and filed under “story ideas”. But I hopped from that to other things.

Breakfast eaten, a TV show half watched – I LOVE hulu because I can pause and  come back to shows/movies . . . then I cleaned off the place I want to put all my writing instruction books. I’ve bought so many: I’ve taken so many writing courses . . . then it’s back to reality and walking one dog while playing fetch for awhile with the other. One dog is 16, the other is 6. Then it’s back to the computer for research on a topic I have great interest in . . . ending that with a preposition . . . is that still a “no-no”? I created another file folder for this new idea on my desk top. I research why my icons keep rearranging themselves and how to fix that . . . the fix online that I read about doesn’t work . . . going back to the show I was watching. Have you ever watched “New Tricks”? It’s about a team of detectives, three of them . . . retired . . . who come back into service to work to solve old crimes. It’s good, but my mind is hopping like a grasshopper today and I have to stop from time to time to do some writing.

Grasshopper Writing. That’s what I call it. My oldest says when I talk, I will change topics on him frequently and he has to pay attention to know what we’re even talking about. He says I’ve always done it and for him, that’s normal for me.

I don’t always write like this. Maybe it’s the only four hours of sleep I got? My mind is hyper-active today. I will get nothing finished, but a great deal started.

Sometimes I need something already started to be able to sit down and write. This will all make sense . . . or be completed on other days.

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Research

Doing research takes time and determination. I’ve been searching for some crime stories from the 1950’s. The newspapers I find with the articles want me to pay for a subscription. It’s free (at first), but you have to put in a debit or credit card number to access the newspapers. Surely there is a cheaper way.

Research can take time and I resent the time it takes from writing, when it’s a dead-end street that I repeatedly encounter.

I’ve thought about going to the original source – the hometown newspaper. Perhaps I’d have to drive there to check microfilm or however they have stored (archived) past issues.

Right now I’m not that ready to write these things. I think I will abandon current research until I can figure out how to proceed.

Meanwhile, I did write a poem and included it on today’s blog at proudofeverywrinkle@wordpress.com   That poem was inspired by events in the kitchen this morning.

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Ideas

Writers are often asked where they get their ideas. I get most of mine from the life I’ve led and people I’ve known  . . things I’ve observed . . .

This morning, while perusing an old copy of Poets & Writers magazine, I read an article about using a picture to inspire a story. That’s the “what if’s” and “I wonder’s” that pop into your mind when you stop to watch something and give it a little extra thought.

David Rowell wrote the article I read. He described it as “writing inspired by photographs”. (I have a painted picture of two cats that I’ve often looked at and wondered if they were really someone’s cats that were painted or how they interacted with each other and their environment, etc . . . so I suppose you could also use a painting or a drawn picture to inspire your muse as well as a photograph.)

David Rowell also talked about a feature he had created in a magazine, DoubleTake, that he edited. The feature was called Viewfinder and he would send photographs to writers and ask for a thousand-word story about them.

(His complete article was in the Jan./Feb. 2012 PW.ORG Magazine.)

I wondered where that phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” originated and found the following online:

“Who coined a picture is worth a thousand words?
This saying was invented by an advertising executive, Fred R. Barnard. To promote his agency’s ads he took out an ad in Printer’s Ink in 1921 with the headline “One Look Is Worth a Thousand Words” and attributed it to an ancient Japanese philosopher.”
Can you write a thousand words about a picture/photograph? Can a photo inspire a poem? It’s something to think about.
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The Wealthy Writer Book

Today I found a book I’d bought called The Wealthy Writer. It says it will teach me how to earn a six-figure income as a freelance writer (no kidding!).

Part of my writing life, I’ve decided, includes research and knowledge. There may be something in this book that will help me profit. Most books on writing and magazines on writing have helped.

I didn’t have time to read this book when I bought it. Back then I was trying daily to teach 35 struggling readers to be competent readers. I thought about each student and planned as individually as I could for each one as I taught them in groups of 4 to 6.

My Reading Supervisor said my groups were too large, and I knew that. She said to lower them to 3 to 4 children. There were too many needy kids at my school, and I knew how to reach most of them. I could not lower my numbers. Whom to drop? My principal said not to drop any of them, and she was my main boss.

So I poured my heart and soul into creating readers who could not only read well, but could also comprehend what they’d read. I worked on their writing skills as well. It was a very full-time job that I brought home with me.

My writing? I did write from time to time and I did publish an article or poem once in awhile. I started four books and would dabble on first one and then the other, and then go back to the first. My heart and soul were elsewhere.

Now they are here, and I’m learning day by day how to be a full time writer.

Back to this book I’ve found tucked away with some other things I pushed aside for “later”. Later is now. I’ll let you know what I learn from it, or maybe I’ll just share successes and let you know where I learned to do that.

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