Monday, April 30, 2012

Sharing Happiness

Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness; it has no taste. Charlotte Brontë I love this quote. I've been thinking a lot about journaling lately because my prophet books help kids learn to journal. I have all the journals of my great grandfather--and there are about 10 or 12 of them. They were written in the late 1800, and I love having them in my posession because they give me a connection to him. However, most all the entires are: "Went to collect for the Deseret News today." "Plowed the west lot today." "Delivered new seed catalogues." This information gives us some insight into his daily life, but I don't really know his soul. I don't write daily in my journal, but when I do I try to share my soul because I know those who follow me will come to understand who I am. Wilford Woodruff said that a journal is more precious than gold. I love this quote because I think it's true. My great grandfather's journals are more precious than gold to me, and I love them just as they are, but sometimes I wish for more. May we come to know how to share who we are with others through our writing. I try to do that weekly. Sometimes I'm not that faithful, but I try. Happy journaling! Christy

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Why Not Today?

I visited an old friend this week. We haven't connected for a while.

There was no awkwardness. We embraced. The hug was long and meaningful. It told me that she had missed me as much as I had missed her.

We need each other. People need connections. We get caught up in the daily grind and we forget about each other. We lose touch. We don't always realize that something is missing. Life goes on.

Hold on to your connections. Make them sweet and lasting. Keep them strong. Tend relationships. Time trudges on. Opportunity evaporates. Desire dissolves. Memories melt.

Is there someone you haven't connected with lately. Do you need to mend a torn relationship, or just make the time to reconnect.

Time is never found. It is created. Things can change so quickly. A move, and illness, an accident could alter your reality, or someone elses. Someone you care about. Don't wait too long. Why not today?

Linda Garner

Monday, April 23, 2012

Pear and Pictures I love to watch my children and grandchildren interact with each other. It’s fun to sit back at a family gathering and watch relationships form and strengthen. I’ve been thinking about this because of two incidents that brought it to mind this week. My mother has a wonderful pear tree that bears the most delicious fruit. When her grandchildren were little, they loved to eat the pears fresh in the fall. Now the grandchildren are grown and have children of their own, and they live from the east coast to the west and many places in between. They still talk about Grandma’s pears and how much fun they had picking and eating them. Mother and I decided several years ago, when the kids were complaining about not being there for pear harvest, that we could still continue the tradition. Mother and I now pick the pears and slice them onto the fruit dryer. In a few hours they are ready to mail. I send them to all parts of the country, and in the next several days everyone calls up to say they are sitting on the sofa eating dried pears and loving them. (Everyone, except the missionary in southern Argentina. He didn’t get them yet.) Everybody loves the pears, but more than that, they love the connection with their grandmother. Our daughter has been scanning the old slides and downloading them onto an internet site so they are available to all the family. She put some of the pictures of extended family gatherings on Facebook and let the relatives know they were there. The cousins have had a good reminiscing about old times and catching up on family news. I know some of them haven’t talked since the last family reunion a couple of years ago. Did you ever think Facebook would be a blessing in your life? I didn’t, but I do now. Pears and pictures have brought us closer together. Think of some of the connecting catalysts in your own family. Share your suggestions

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Getting Back into the Swing of Things

Spring break is over. So are all the dentist appointments (Hooray! I'm grateful for you dentist...but still).

I'm trying to get back into the swing of things (eating healthy, overcoming the monstrous laundry mountain, waking up on time...things like that).

But I am also drafting a new book! (Yay drafting!) But to be honest, it is so much harder than the last book I drafted. I don't know if I'm stuck in revision mode or what!

So I'm setting myself some little goals to get to. (I had a big one, but I decided I couldn't draft a whole book in two days. Just so not realistic.)

What about you guys? What do you do when you switch from revision to drafting? Do you have any tricks to pass along?

Okay, now back to drafting! *whipcrack*

Good luck with the writing/cleaning/living this week! Woohoo!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Rhyme and Reason

I enjoy writing in rhyme, but it can be tricky. There's nothing worse than bad rhyme. Okay, there are a lot of things worse than bad rhyme, but bad rhyme really stinks.

Avoid near ryhmes.

For example:

I try to sleep
but sleep won't come.
I wiggle my elbows.
I wiggle my thumbs.

Thumbs almost rhymes with come, but not quite.

Avoid forced rhyme. Forced rhyme uses words that sound right but don't fit the context of the piece. It sounds contrived.

For example:

My legs won’t behave,
Though I tuck them in.
They fling and flop
and it makes me spin.

Spin rhymes, but it doesn't add much to the piece.

It's also best to avoid rhymes that don't match the way we talk.

I wanted to sleep
In a tall oak tree.
My mom fixed that.
"No" said She.

I got my rhyme, but it doesn't sound good, because it's not the way we talk.

Rhythm and meter and stresses also play a big part, and that's what makes the process so complex.

There are rules about these things, but I think the best test is how does it sound when you read it out loud. If it sounds right, it's a good sign. You need to listen to other people read your stuff, because you know how it is supposed to sound. You can make it sound right. How does it sound when someone with no prejudices reads it.

I'm working on a rhyming piece with some really classy ladies, and one talented gentleman. It's eye opening. My hardest task was to deal with rhyming words that didn't stress the right syllable.

For example:

It works for giraffes
but not for me.
Sleeping animal style
is not easy.

Easy rhymes with me, but the stress in on the first syllable instead of the rhyming syllable.

Next I tried:

It works for giraffes
but not for me.
Sleeping animal style
is no guarantee.

The rhyme works better, but guarantee is not really a kid-friendly word.

I'm still stuck on this one. Nothing seems to work. If you have an idea, please send it along. Maybe your idea is the one I'm looking for.

Linda Garner

Monday, April 16, 2012

Here’s a Five-Star read! Don’t miss it! At Season's End

There was Paw in the lead goin’ as hard as he could, then Maw, Tim next, and me tryin’ to catch up knowin’ they must all be crazy. Even the river didn’t stop Paw. Clothes and all, he jumped into the whirlin’, swirlin’ waters of the great Columbia.
At this Maw let out a scream. Mebby she thought Paw was goin’ to end it all. Then Tim yelled, “Oh, no, Paw!” But I was too surprised and scared to say anythin’.
I suppose it was just a second or two, but it seemed like minutes before he came up again to show us he had two heads and four arms. Then the mighty water turned him over to prove he had four legs. That was when we realized Paw was holdin’ on for dear life to a young drownin’ boy.
Hit hard by the Great Depression, Sal’s family loads up an old Buick and heads out to find work wherever they can. Driving from place to place, living off the little they can make, they soon realize they’ll never be able to afford to settle down again.
Then, when tragedy strikes, Sal and her brother must learn to fend for themselves. In a world of harsh realities, there’s no room left for romance. But that can’t stop Sal from dreaming of a life with Ben—a boy from another migrant family—even though she knows she may never see him again.
This heartwarming story about growing up in a troubled time is sure to resonate with modern readers of all ages.
Eric Hendershot, a writer/director has produced several family friendly films and documentaries.  At Season’s End is one of the most heart-warming stories I’ve read in a long time. Hendershot’s writing style is smooth and engaging. His character development is superb as this family goes from hilarity to tragedy as the pages slip by. The book is engaging and a fun easy read.
Paw and Maw become migrant workers during the great depression. They, along with their children Tim and Sal, create an old-fashioned family filled with kindness and morality.
Trouble devastates this family, and Tim and Sal learn to live by their wits. Will Sal ever see Ben, the boy she truly loves again? Odds are against it.
I highly recommend this read.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Drop Everything and Read

Have you heard of D.E.A.R day. It's tomorrow. April 12. Drop Everything and Read. What a great idea. How will you celebrate?

Most of us can't have the luxury of a whole day of reading, but how about weaving some reading activities into your day. Here are a few ideas.

1. Read in the tub. Don't forget the bubble bath.

2. Carry a book in your purse or car for those odd moments you always spend waiting.

3. Choose a book to read as a family. Start it tonight over dinner. Pass the book around the table and let everyone read a page.

4. Let everyone choose something interesting from the newspaper and share it at breakfast.

5. Encourage everyone to choose a favorite quote and share it at bedtime. It can be from a current read, or just something they like. This could be a weekly activity.

We're all busy, but reading rocks. Make time for it, especially tomorrow. Let your children see you read. Turn off the TV. Turn off the video games. Read with your family. Start a new tradition. You won't be sorry.

For more ideas click here.

Let's celebrate D.E.A.R day. Drop everything and read.

Linda Garner

Monday, April 9, 2012

Picture Books

I’m taking Rick Walton’s online picture book class. If any of you are interested in writing picture books, he is a wonderful teacher and the class is so great. Rick can pull good writing out of you that you didn’t know was inside you. He has a great gift.
I’ve been reading Eve Bine-Stock’s “How to Write a Children’s Picture Book” Vol. 1 on Structure. It’s really good. I’m going to the library today to get some picture books and break them down according to her outline.
She suggests that three sections:
            Act 1 Beginning
                        Plot Twist 1
            Act 2 Middle
                        Plot Twist 2
            Act 3 End

I’m trying to check out several books she suggests and see if I can fit the plot into her plan.
Everyone knows Goodnight Gorilla
            Act 1 Beginning – Gorilla steals keys
                        Plot Twist 1 – Gorilla starts to open cages
            Act 2 Middle – Night Watchman’s lack of reaction to animals following him
                        Midpoint – Wife says “Good night” (focus shifts from the night watchman
                                                                                    to the wife’s reaction to the animals
                                                                                    in the bedroom
                        Plot Twist 2 – Gorilla follows wife home
            Act 3 End – Gorilla sound asleep

Fun concepts, huh? Check out some of your favorite books and see if they fit this structure. Let me know what you think. I’m off to the library to check out picture books.
Have a great week. Christy


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Unplugged and Talking to Myself

Self:  Hey, where are you?

Me: I thought you heard.

Self: About purple being the new color mixed with hints of orange splotches mixed in tweed. Yeah, dreadful.  It's bad news all around.

Me: It's spring break.

Self: Spring break? Yay! Why didn't you tell me? Now I can go find myself some awesome tweed pants! What about you? Do you have any fabulousess plans.

Me: Yup. I'm spending the break at the dentist's office.

Self: I said fabulous.

Me: said fabulousess, which isn't even a word. *smirk* And no. No fun plans. Just lots of drilling.

Self: Okay.*sneaking out back door*  Good luck with that.I hope you have a great time with all that cleaning and drilling and tooth pulling...and stuff. *running away quickly*

Me: Yup. So, so fun.

I'm unplugged this week! Spending time at the dentists. (I'm such a wild one.) Have a great week everyone! And tell me what your plans are for Spring Break! Anything fun?

Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers

So late posting this week. Having a hard time getting my **** in gear. Do you have days like that? I hate it when that happens.

On the bright side though, I am counting my pennies to see if I have enough moolah to go the WIFYR conference in June. I'm drooling at the possiblity. This is such a fabulous opportunity for picture book authors and illustrators, and it is practically in my backyard. I have been twice and I loved it.

Of course, it's not just for picture book authors, but they do have a fabulous picture book class taught by a fabulous picture book author. Not many conferences cater to us picture book people. WIFYR stands for Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers, so that covers a lot of territory. There are lots of good classes to choose from.

This year, there is also a fabulous writing contest. The prize is $1,000. Wouldn't that make your day. If you want to find out more, check here, or here.

When is the conference? Where? June 18 - 22. Sandy, UT.

Count your pennies. Maybe you can go too.

Linda Garner

Monday, April 2, 2012

Happy Spring Break

I hope you're going to have a great week. I am. I'm doing some book signings in the Phoenix and Tucson area. AND having fun with grandkids.

I'm also excited to be with Linda at LDS Storymakers in the publication primer workshop. It will be fun to work with her again. I'm really looking forward to it.

Take care. Happy Easter. Christy