Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

Three quick updates (with an emphasis on some new skills).

1. New skills! Although I’ve been attending plenty of Zoom meetings and events over the past many weeks, yesterday brought the first one that I hosted (and recorded)! A young friend had asked to interview me for a middle-school assignment. (Topic: “Being an Author.”) So I upped my tech game and even managed to send the requested recording to my interviewer (whose teacher is, I hope, the only one who will be viewing it).

2. New skills! (Part Two): As I try to learn the proverbial ropes of kidlit, I’ve begun reading the highly recommended Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul. I haven’t made it very far, yet, because the author makes it clear pretty early that you need to have a draft of some kind to work with as the book continues. (And, well—I don’t.) But over the weekend I progressed far enough to complete one of the book’s initial assignments: I’ve re-typed the text of a picture-book that I admire into a blank document. And guess what? Doing that really did help me understand picture-book-writing a little bit more clearly.

3. Other reading: I’ve also started reading Sandell Morse’s The Spiral Shell: A French Village Reveals Its Secrets of Jewish Resistance in World War II. My goal is to complete both Sandell’s memoir and Ellen Meeropol’s new novel Her Sister’s Tattoo before Julie Zuckerman/Literary Modiin hosts the three of us on Sunday, May 31, for a virtual author event. Please join us!

cover of WRITING PICTURE BOOKS by Ann Whitford Paul

8 thoughts on “Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

  1. A friend of mine worked on this story as an adult story for a long time but then found the picture book format and it’s been a good way to tell the story of her mother’s flight from the Nazis. So it’s an example of finding theright format, which is sometimes a picture book. https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/34139103-hedy-s-journey

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Thanks for sharing!

  2. Erika,
    I have many, many PB mss. under the proverbial bed. One piece of advice I got from Anastasia Suen was to read 100 picture books.

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Oh, I’m sure I need to read at least 100!

  3. Sandra Soli says:

    Read everything by Sandra Boynton and everything by Eric Carle, for sure. There is a wonderful video available on Mr. Carle’s work that would be helpful. He and Mrs. Boynton both graciously respond to questions.

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      That’s super-gracious.

  4. That picture book tip is really interesting. I’m intrigued enough to read the book myself!

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Let me know if you do!

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