Sunday, October 28, 2018

The Weekend Writer

Wow. It's been almost a year since I've done a Weekend Writer post. Well, I think I have some helpful material here for you on getting started on writing picture books, though I think you could apply some of this work to any kind of writing.

A Training Model

Michelle Cusolito
I often use the word training in relation to writing, because I spent around 14 years training in a couple of different martial arts and, obviously, liked that world. Training is more than just writing something and expecting people to read it. Training involves an organized plan. Repetition. Learning new skills, then building on them to learn more skills.

I think two newly published writers recently interviewed at Cynsations can definitely be described as having trained before getting their first books published.

Yes, Michelle Cusolito (a NESCBWI member who I've met) and Casey W. Robinson followed the traditional writer advice to write and read a great deal. But notice how directed they were about it.
Casey W. Robinson
  • They took classes
  • They read thousands of picture books, because that was the genre they were interested in writing
  • They joined SCBWI
  • They both took part in an on-line picture book writing program.
  • Michelle assessed the publishers of the picture books she read to determine which types of books various companies were publishing
  • Casey analyzed texts to determine how a writer "creates room" for illustrators to pick up the story
  • Michelle joined a critique group.
  • Casey found a critique partner 
This is kind of intense. But that's probably why they're now published writers.

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