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www.cravewriting.com

21 Mar

FYI: The new url cravewriting.com is now active and will directly link here. Therefore, you no longer have to type ‘wordpress.com.’ Instead simply use cravewriting.com to access the site!

Happy imaginating everyone!

PICTURE BOOK FACTORY – Online Critique Seeks New Members

14 Mar


Click to join pbfactory

Click to join pbfactory

Looking for a place to comfortably and safely have your picture book manuscript stabbed by a rubber sword? If yes, then please join the ‘Picture Book Factory,’ CraveWriting’s official online critique group.

Moderated by Crave Cravak and looking for new members we only ask that all Factory workers write/share/critique often using Yahoo! Groups with occasional live Skype Chats. Submissions are limited to a maximum of 2,000 words per month. PB Factory is ideal for writers who wish to solely focus their creative/constructive efforts on picture book or early reader texts. If there is an interest in chapter, middle-grade, or young adult, CraveWriting will gladly sponsor additional online critique groups.

All picture book writers, published/un-published, are welcome!

To join simply visit the Picture Book Factory’s group page (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pbfactory/) and request to join. Please keep in mind, you’ll need a Yahoo! account to join.

Happy collaborating imaginators!

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss

2 Mar

Happy Anniversary of Theodor Seuss Giesel’s Birth!

With more written about Dr. Seuss than his 60 plus books themselves, I’ll refrain from failing at penning an earth-shattering composition about the best selling children’s writer of all time. Instead, here’s a random assortment of tidbitz and linkadoodles.

In regards to branding and carrying a similar tone through one’s portfolio, I would have to say that Gary Larson is the comic strip industry’s Dr. Seuss.

Dr. Seuss’s Best Selling Children’s Books

BRAND: Dr. Seuss is best known for his made-up words, zany rhymes, and fantastical settings. But I believe his success is due to the Dr. Seuss brand. “Where the Wild Things Are” has always retained fame over its creator Maurice Sendak. Though Dr. Seuss as an icon and symbol hogs the spotlight even his most famous creations such as the Grinch, or the Cat in the Hat. Personally, as only a writer, I think it will be extremely difficult to build a “brand” for myself. Giesel luckily was also an illustrator and was able to stream a similar tone throughout all of his texts. Tomie DePaula has written/illustrated over 200 books, but does not shine in the market as a symbolic brand name. Even heralded Jane Yolen is more noted in the mainstream for individual pieces. Therefore, I encourage unpublished authors to consider their career with each submission. Perhaps this helps explain why I’m sitting on 60 plus manuscripts. I’d love to see “Where Should I Pee?” or “The Turd that Wouldn’t Flush” making conservative librarians giggle….but I need to establish myself before I’m type casted as a “gross” writer who employs cheap tricks to entice sales. In addition, my “What If?” series has the most marketable potential, but since each title is so reliant on illustration, I also need to wait until I’m embedded enough in the industry to be able to pull in and collaborate with an illustrator. Maybe I’m looking to far ahead, but I’m ready to write my history before it happens. So what do you think “Crave Cravak,” “Mr. Crave,” or “The Crave?”

Dr. Seuss’s first book, “And to Think That I saw It on Mulberry Street” was rejected 27 times before it was published. Keep sending until you can pass 27, so then when you become famous, people can reference how you were rejected ?? times to motivate aspiring writers.

All About Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss published his first children’s book at the age of 34. Since I turn 30 next week, I’ve got 4 years! I’m too scared to consider how it will take 2-3 years beyond acceptance for the book to be technically published. Oh boy, I better get sending!

Seussical

Awards are great…for the winners. Just remember if you come out on the losing end that Dr. Seuss has never won a Caldecott or Newbury Medal. Though three of his books were runners-up.

Dr. Seuss Landing at Universal Islands of Adventure was constructed with “no straight lines.”

Seuss Landing Video

It’s not a coincidence that March 2nd, Dr. Seuss’s birthday, is National Read Across America Day.

Seussy is listed in Urban Dictionary as an adjective that is characterized by or possessing qualities similar to the works ofDr.Seuss.

PBM – Week 4

1 Mar

February has closed its curtain and the Picture Book Marathon has ended. Hopefully all of you imaginators out there successfully crossed the finish line. If not, you can always extend your marathon into March and wrap up the loose drafts.

Having finished four days early, this year’s marathon feels less of a monumental task and more of a useful writing exercise. While, according to PBM officials, each marathoner was to complete 1 manuscript per day with 2 days reserved for rest and recuperation. Eager to finish before a lengthy business trip to Tokyo, I opted for a sprint. Luckily, thanks to my ever-increasing writing endurance, on February 12th and February 24th I was able to pen 4 manuscripts. In fact, out of the 26 days, only on 4 days did I pen just one manuscript. It’s not that I carelessly rushed my way through each 500 to 1,000 word draft, but rather I’ve used my experience and resources to make use of the time. For instance, my desk job is simply that, for 75% I’m regulated at said location free to listen to music, surf the net, or in my case, write picture books. In addition, several of the pieces had been ideas crawling out of the boxes in my attic. So naturally with loose outlines and page turns penciled in various journals, I found it easier to dust them off and pen them to life.

Each manuscript has been dated, attached to a storyboard blueprint and a status sheet, and firmly placed into a clear plastic sleeve in the holy 2011 PBM Binder. Will I reference this holy resource in the future? Of course, but then again, there will be a few pieces left to rot until I can gather up the resources necessary to afford the plastic surgery.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s picture book marathon. In the meantime, I plan to send out 1 picture book as well as write 2-4 new manuscripts per month.

To see a list of manuscripts #1-22, plese see the previous PBM weekly posts. Below are the final manuscripts of this year’s picture book marathon.

  • 23.)  Father Goose Tries To Tell a Tale: Father Goose tires of being shushed at storytime and puts his beak to the rhyming test.
  • 24.) Unless: A Guide to What Kids Don’t Like: A list of things kids don’t like remixed into things they will love. For instance, kids don’t like cavities…unless faeries bury their shiny treasure there.
  • 25.)  Your Mommy: In the fashion of ‘yo mamma’ jokes, two boys verbally compete boasting how great the other’s mother is. “Your mommy smells so nice, perfume is made from her farts.”
  • 26.)  Wild Bowl: In a small African village, young Dede is presented a football which he views as a wounded warrior who joins him in battle with wild animals on the field of battle.

PBM – Week 1

10 Feb

The first week of February is history, and we’re a quarter of the way through the Picture Book Marathon. I haven’t had nearly enough practice to near perfection, but this being my 2nd year the experience is paying off. This time last year I had already used my two vacation days and was far behind. Desperate to advance to the head of the pack I wrote several ‘visual heavy’ drafts as part of the Mission Imaginable series.

This year I’m not about to just add a stack of paper to my own slush pile. Instead, the goal is to produce 26 usable seeds that when planted, watered, and whispered to will blossom into a publishable bouqet of picture books. Ok, let’s be honest, I’d be happy to have 5 of them bloom, but I’m reaching for 20.

As of February 7th, I’ve managed to pen seven manuscripts. My heart rejoices at seeing old ideas spring to life. But seeing a great range in stories, style, voice is not only comforting but reassuring that I’m not just a one-trick humorous list generating pony.

Of the seven, one is ready for the critique group, another needs an editing bath, four require time to runaway from my ego so that I may slash it to pieces later on, while one is a short cut excuse to jump start the process.

Overall, I’m enjoying this marathon. Not behind, nor needing to rush promotes a kinder attention to detail and editing while writing.

Sadly I’m not an illustrator, so I can’t provide delicious covers like imaginators Nathan Hale, Jed Henry, and Julie Olson. Please visit their blogs, view their impressive work and drop them a comment or three.

I’ll leave you with week one’s marathon roster members. I hope one day we can enjoy them together.

  1. Pin the Tail on the…: There’s a box full of animal tails, help the lost and found find each tail’s owner.
  2. Just Bailey (working title): Bailey doesn’t know if he is a she or she is a he.
  3. Mingo the Dingo Plays Bingo: Through Bingo, Grandma Dingo teaches Mingo the purpose of winning.
  4. Ropunzel: The Boy Who Wouldn’t Get a Haircut: A boy is interrogated about his long hair, but what will he do when the questions stop coming? 
  5. Witches Day: A little boy plans to stop the witches from crashing the school dance.
  6. Coastergeist: A scaredy-ghost must overcome his fears and haunt Mammoth Mountain.
  7. Airhog Day: To avoid the suffocating attention of Groundhod Day, Wilbur takes to the sky.

Picture Book Blueprint

21 Jan

“I write scripts in storyboard fashion using stick figures, and thought balloons and word balloons and captions. Then I’ll write descriptions of what scenes should look like and turn it over to the artist.” – Harvey Pekar

Once you’ve penned your picture book masterpiece, regardless if you’re the illustrator, it’s time to put on your editor glasses. I’m not referring to spelling, punctuation or gooey grammar. But rather how you need to look at your book in 3D (sort of).

Like an architect’s blueprint, a storyboard or dummy helps the author/illustrator visualize the physical layout of the story. Even without pictures this can be done at any stage of the book’s development. It’s essential to see how each page turn is elegantly teased yet surprisingly delivered.

From students to writers, everyone seems to get caught up with asking “how long does it have to be?” While each publisher differs in desired word counts, if all of the text naturally fits in a 32-page layout, you don’t have to worry. If there’s just too much text, you may be able to convince the publisher to move your words to a 40 page book.

To help with this storyboarding task, I’ve created a blank thumbnail overview and a black template to download, print and use at will.

To get a clearer picture on storyboards and dummies check out the following useful links:

Tara Lazar thoughtfully explains the storyboard concept.

Uri Shulevitz visually breaks down a storyboard from an illustrator’s perspective.

Sarah S. Brannen covers the process of making a picture book dummy.

Picture Books: A Thematic Gift

18 Jan

I’m probably the only one in my circle of family and friends who has children’s books on their Christmas and birthday wish list. But that doesn’t mean I can’t gift someone else an illustrated gem of creativity.

At some point in time everyone was a child, making picture books relatable. Given their thin lightweight size,  minimal word count and pleasant illustrations they are a wonderful addition to anyone’s never ending collection of junk.

For Christmas I desired to give an innocent yet thoughtful gift of encouragement to a special lady aiming to enter dental school. So what better present than an assortment of dental themed books. I went to amazon.com, typed in ‘dentist’ and was bombarded with scores of titles. Luckily for me, many were paperbacks and generously priced at less than $5.  I literally could have dropped over $100 on these books, but I was happy with the collection of 7 books I assembled.

Then on Christmas day I drowned her in my world of children’s literature while tailoring it to something dear to her heart. “When you open your first practice, you can put these in your waiting room for children to read.” Folks, talk about brownie points!

Now keep in mind picture books are written for children, so there may not always be one to directly match your desired theme. For example, if your friend is about to open a gentlemen’s club. But…there are oodles of books of encouragement and motivation including Jerry Spinelli’s ‘I Can Be Anything.”

When giving a thoughtful present, there’s no need to waltz into a Hallmark Store or get lost in Party City, just scour through your local or online bookstore shelf.

Happy gifting imaginators!

A Year of Goals: 2011 Reading List

12 Jan

I’ve learned that amassing a lengthy to-do list only wastes the time you could have spent on accomplishing something. It’s better to begin working naturally and then once you’re aware of your drive to succeed, setting, and time limitation, then set small goals on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis. For instance, I’ve created a PDF checklist for CRAVEWRITING in which I have to post 10 new entries each month. Given how I wrote 30 in November, 10 posts has proven to be a reasonable and achievable goal.

When looking at my 2010 reading list and the scores of un-read novels collecting dust on my desk, I felt the urge to compile a list of books long enough to blanket Rapunzel’s hair. Luckily my brain posessses the ability to re-think. While it would feel heroic to pick off titles from the list one-by-one, the reality is that I would probably never finish it. I don’t know about the rest of your imaginators, but I like the feeling of completion, especially since I get to blast the Superman theme song from my speakers. Plus, who knows what ‘must-reads’ I’ll encounter over the next year. It’s inhumane to ask myself to name each and every title I must scour over the next 365 days.

So I opted to look beyond the books and into my soul. I asked myself, “Why do you read?” Wait a minute, I read? I then re-phrased the question to “Why should you be reading?” There, I got it.

Well, let’s see. I read for many reasons. Specifically, I read to…

  1. Learn the trade from the published masters: As they say, “writers are readers,” and if I’m going to write, I need to aggressively yet comfortably dive into stacks of similar titles, past, present, dusty and famous.
  2. Increase my reading speed and endurance: I am a slow reader, and quickly fall asleep mid-way through a chapter. I’m beginning to notice though the more I read the faster and longer I’m reading for. On several occasions I nearly pulled an all-nighter by being glued to the final pages of a novel (in this case Harry Potter). Time is limited, thus reading more in less time appeals to me.
  3. Increase my working vocabulary: I may have an English Education degree, and can spin words in infinite directions, but my arsenal of weaponry is is bone-dry. I need to upgrade my vocabulary not only to rock the GRE in the hopes of entering a creative writing PHD program but to also add a glitter of diversity and spice to my word parades.
  4. For entertainment: Honestly, I enjoy everything I read. Though I would say that non-fiction essays and memoirs from comedians such as Lewis Black and Steve Martin have equalled the joy of watching a movie in a theatre. I love reading about the adventures of like-minded souls, but namely ones who are funny and successful.
  5. To learn new things and/or enhance my knowledge in certain areas: This would include cookbooks and Lonely Planet titles, but mostly this is goal exists to satisfy my unearthly obsessions with all things roller coasters, zoos, cartoons, professional wrestling, toys and mythology. Pretty much whatever fascinates me as a kid, still does today. Just because something is intended for children, doesn’t mean an adult has any less to learn.

Then I perused my GoodReads account and analyzed the types of books I read. I graciously ommitted the recipe and travel books. While they belong on the shelf, and satisfy Reason-To-Read #5, I figured I should stick to literature. Consequently, the types of books I am (should be) reading are listed below and in paranthesis are the Reasons-to-Read they satisfy along with descriptions and books on deck to read.

  • Picture Books (1,3,4) Despite how I said I wouldn’t set lengthy goals, I’m determined to read at least 100 picture books published over the past two years. Having been in Japan, I’ve lost access to new trends/styles/leading publishers. When I return in the fall, I’ll be able to quickly catch-up by scaring children in the local Barnes & Noble and pissing them off by borrowing all the good titles at the library. I could easily list all of the great titles I’ve seen from other blogs and newsletters, but I’ll just wait to see what’s available to me in the fall.
  • Chapter Books / Middle Grade (1,2,3,4) Currently, I’ve penned 38 PB manuscripts with another 28 rough drafts on their way in February. Of course the publication process could take years, but I’m already eyeing potential titles in the early reader / chapter / middle grade arena. Though having neglected the classics as a child, it’s one that I’m ill equipped for. I feel the need to begin reading timeless award winners to modern trend setters, so that when I am ready to pen one of my own, I’ll have the background knowledge necessary to propel me. Books on deck include: the Hank Zipper, Captain Underpants, Dear Dumb Diary series.
  • Fairy Tales / Fantasy (1,2,3,4)I’ve longed to write in the folktale and fantasy genres. While many drafts have been written, including 200 pages into my ‘Book of Feste’ original folktale collection. But I have much to learn and rejoice in relaxing in the worlds of other imaginators. Books on deck include: Grimm’s Fairy Tales, The Neverending Story, Peter Pan, Chronicles of Narnia, LOTR, Harry Potter (books 4-7).
  • Motivational / Resources (4,5)When I can’t bring myself to write for children, I enjoy reading about children’s literature. While many of these ‘how-to’ books repeat information, a few of them are quite inspirational. If anything, these books just help keep me on track and remind me of my dreams. I’m currently reading Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children’s Book edited by Anita Silvey, Today I will by Eileen & Jerry Spinelli, and I Wish Someone Had Told Me That! edited by Jon Bard (ebook).
  • Short Stories (1,2,3,4)I wouldn’t mind penning a collection of short stories. Especially after reading Haruki Murakami, I’m eager to try my hand in the abbreviated literary world. But mostly I need to swim in this genre in order to gain acceptance into a creative-writing program. Currently on deck is a short story collection by Roald Dahl and I’m eager to get my eyes on two more collections by Murakami.
  • Essays / Autobiographies (1,2,3,4)I did my 11th grade book report on Howard Stern’s autobiographical ‘Private Parts’ partly because I like controversy but mostly because it was the only interesting thing I could find to read. I’m constantly on the look out for amusing non-fiction from comedians and laid-back personalities. I found David Sedaris too dry and Chuck Klosterman too academic on topics I didn’t care about. Any suggestions? I’m currently reading David Cross’s “I Drink For a Reason,” and for the first time am reading the text as an editor/writer. Instead of feeling miniscule, I feel that I’m ready to tackle this genre.
  • Mythology (4,5) I’m obsessed with studying mythological creatures, especially Japanese folklore monsters. I never tire of reading repeated information or finding conflicting reports on those curious creatures. On deck: Pandemonium and Parade, The Mythical Creatures Bible, The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures, and Cryptozoology AtoZ.

In conclusion, outside of picture and chapter books I would like to say that I read one book per week in 2011. Thus I have a loose goal of 52 books for the year. But as long as I continue to satisfy my reasons-to-read and am covering a fair amount of material in each area I will walk into 2012 an accomplished reader (writer) with the Superman theme song deafening the neighbors.

To all you imaginators out there, happy reading in 2011!

Literary Digestion: 2010

7 Jan

Inspired by the many ‘books read in 2010’ posts including Michelle Knudsen’s, I decided to share my own.  Many of these lists are as long as a novel. I found it humiliating as mine contains less syllables than a haiku. Even as an English Education major at Boston University, I’ve never labeled myself a literary connoisseur. Reading takes practice, and as long as I persist with children’s books, non-fiction, and short story collections I’ll get there (eventually).

Consequently, this list exists for movitational purposes or provide you with a chance to ‘laugh at me.’ As you’ll see below, I should have an IV of words pumped through my veins after devouring a tiny morsel of literature. If you’re in the same hospital ward as me, don’t fret. We can always recover in 2011 and hit up the library buffet.

I could always piggyback on the fact that I live in a world devoid of English, but with Amazon delivering in Japan there’s no excuse. Sprinkling myself with a smidgen of encouragement, I must add that I trudged through more texts in 2010 than I had in the past 10 years.  It’s just that as a writer, I need to adopt a Lindsay Lohan sized addiction to other people’s parades of words, especially in the children’s literature domain.

Without further ado, here is my puny yet eclectic list:

  • 1.) Haruki Murakami – Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
  • 2.) Roald Dahl – The BFG
  • 3.) Roald Dahl – The Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • 4.) J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter – The Prisoner of Azkaban
  • 5.) Chuck Klosterman – Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto
  • 6.) Hans Christian Anderson – Complete Fairy Tales Collection
  • 7.) Lonely Planet Taiwan (Can I count this? If so, add in Hong Kong/Macau and China)
  • 8.) Dav Pilkey – The Adventures of Captain Underpants
  • 9.) Jim Benton – Dear Dumb Diary #1 Let’s Pretend this Never Happened
  • 10.) Alice Pope – 2010 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market
  • 11.) Ryunosuke Akutagawa – Kappa
  • 12.) Matt Alt & Hiroko Yodo – Yokai Attack!: The Japanese Monster Survival Guide
  • 13.) Julia Bruce – Fantasmagoria
  • 14.) Nancy I. Sanders – Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Children’s Books, Get Them Published, and Build a Successful Writing Career

Picture Books:

* The following includes memorable favorites, as I often surf through the stacks of English bookstores whenever in a big city.

  • 1.) Tony Ross – I’m Coming to Get You
  • 2.) Ted Prior – Grug
  • 3.) Chris Barton & Tom Lichtenheld – Shark vs. Train
  • 4.) Jan Fearnley – Mr. Wolf and the Enormous Turnip
  • 5.) Jan Fearnley – Mr. Wolf’s Pancakes

The Sound of Typing

2 Dec

For me the essential medium of writing is neither the pen nor the modern word processor. It’s the typewriter.

From 1984 to 1996, the typewriter was the best friend to Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury), TV’s most coveted mystery writer. Each episode was a real life version of Scooby Doo. Murder She Wrote, wasn’t exactly the ‘featured item’ on a boy’s TV menu, but when Grandma was babysitting, the only other option was free-throwing your He-Man action figures into the toilet. That Skeletor sure can’t swim. I fondly recall the opening sequence where the show’s title was literally typed on a typewriter. For avid (psychotic) fans of the show, you’re probably eager to point out Fletcher eventually turned to a personal computer for her mystery novels. Respectfully, the typewriter remained in the opening shot, as it was truly the symbol for her as a writer.

The same can be said for another ‘80s icon. While off the radar for anyone born after 1981, Mr. Belvedere was a writer in disguise. Unlike Jessica Fletcher, his creative ink surged at the end of each episode with his daily thoughts on the Owens family. Though, I have just lied to you. It turns out Mr. Belvedere did all of his writing in a journal. Even a friend agreed with me that Mr. Belvedere rocked a typewriter in the closing moments of the show. Why do I always imagine him wailing away on the typewriter? Because the symbology was already planted. Looking back, I can’t possibly conceive Mr. Belvedere as being one of those pre-teen poets bleeding their creative hearts into a black and white composition notebook. Nor can I see him browsing the aisle of overpriced novelty journals at Barnes and Noble. The fact is I’m looking back at my past through modern judgmental eyes.

My fandom for the typewriter was etched in stone with the 1988 motion picture Funny Farm. Andy Farmer (Chevy Chase), is a run of the mill doofus who takes his wife to a remote town in order to work on his novel. The typewriter became a metaphor as Chase suffered  writer’s block, yet as the sun slept his wife did not. She was pounding away as the typewriter sang its song. In the end, he had nothing while she was published.

It comes as no surprise that one of the happiest days of my life was when my younger sister Rachel purchased a typewriter. This was one of those electronic dandies capable of erasing mistakes. I think I used more of the eraser solution than I did ink. It’s hard to fathom why a 12-year-old girl, especially one who didn’t write, would want a typewriter. Nonetheless, I gave that machine more love than a ‘cool kid’ hates Nickelback.

But when I went away to college, the typewriter stayed at home. I could have easily transported it from Buffalo to Boston in the van my Dad rented despite owning a van.

Then something terrible happened. I burst through my society hating, self-loving bubble. This was all due in part to the three B’s: Booze, Broads, and Bands. My typewriting days were over. And sadly I forgot about my treasured symbol. The Internet was bursting with user-friendly sites, and I quickly hopped on LiveJournal.

When I graduated and moved to South Florida to teach high school I suddenly found myself overwhelmed by the desire to write creatively. My eternal symbol resurfaced and I brought the typewriter with me. I even acquired an antique typewriter so it wouldn’t get lonely.

But a question was begging to be asked. Why was I refusing to let go of something that never once helped me to produce a lengthy manuscript? One year for Christmas, I even took my typewriter home with me on the plane.

I guess it all results in me growing up with the idea that a typewriter is a writer’s medium. I find it hard to attach myself to a personal computer. In a sense the computer is the modern typewriter. But nearly everyone has a computer now. I can’t allow myself to be associated with the millions of inconsistent bloggers, term paper typists, and ‘check out this great recipe’ e-mailers of the world.

So I had gravitated to notebooks/journals. The journals were a success as I actually finished a few. But these were meant to be the starting point. These were ideas. Most ‘aspiring’ writers are merely people full of ideas they are confident enough about to convince themselves that they will someday stop everything to pen it. But a writer is someone who writes. Not just ideas, but also drafts that will morph into submittable manuscripts. It’s committed determination and hard work that makes this happen, often on a personal computer.

Still I wasn’t ready to abandon my pursuit of the typewriter. After all, my fictional idol, Ted Cole, a children’s writer gloriously played by Jeff Bridges in “Door in the Floor,” refused to conform. In one scene his adolescent assistant suggests Cole should purchase a computer, to which Cole rhetorically replies, “Maybe for the next book.”

When I was hired to teach English in Japan, I had no choice but to abandon the typewriter. I couldn’t picture Japan having typewriters only to discover that a kanji typewriter was invented in 1915. What would I do with that? Print out cool temporary tattoos for American children?

So I adopted the Neo, a lightweight portable word processor. I used it often and felt like a “real” writer. Though, in the end I had to transfer the data files to my computer. In reality, Neo was just a lighter temporary laptop. Compared to a freshly stamped piece of paper, there’s no sense of accomplishment in looking at a USB drive. As I discovered incredibly cute cheap journals in Japan, my use of the Neo faded.      I became so accustomed with my journal and laptop system that I thought I would never be with my friend the typewriter again. Until now.

This lengthy essay has been a ploy, a ringing endorsement, for Typewriter Keyboard. This shareware program’s function is simple: when I type on my keyboard, authentic typewriter noises sound. There’s even a metallic swooshing sound when I press enter. But I only turn it on though when writing or editing a draft. I don’t want to de-sensitize or associate the therapeutic experience with Skype chats or searches for McDonaldland toys on eBay. Thanks to Typewriter Keyboard I am reacquainted with my long lost friend, well at least in spirit. With over 37 picture book manuscripts to date, all I needed was the sound of typing. Now how do I get over my fear of revision?