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When Images Attack

1 Nov

Fresh into Picture Book Idea Month, my mind is wired to think the wondrous, the innocent, and the politely bizarre. It feels good to be a kid again and my senses are tuned to pickup on any visual, smell, taste, or sound that may spark an imaginative idea. So today when my wife accidentally pronounced ‘leopard’ like it was ‘leotard,’ the good husband in me vanished with a writer taking over. “Leopards, leotards… hmmmm…LEOPARDS IN LEOTARDS. Yes!” Whenever an idea in my head is labeled by the processing department as “Children’s Book Friendly,” I search on Google and Amazon to see if it’s been done before. While I’m sure this combination is in a ‘grammar’ book, creatively speaking I was in the clear. My next task was to perform a google image search for continued inspiration. That’s when this happened… LeopardsInLeotards With all due to respect to this lovely lady, I can’t bring myself to think of ‘leopards’ or ‘leotards.’ So imaginators, what did we learn today? Sometimes a picture is worth 1 word: “Yuck!”, and it may be best to let an idea fully blossom before allowing a cruel world to influence you. Happy writing everyone!

Bring on the Ideas: 2014 PiBoIdMo

29 Oct

It’s that time of year again!

Now that we’ve filled our mouths with Halloween candy, allow that sweet sugar to muse our brains with 30 delicious ideas for picture books. If you haven’t already, please sign-up for the 6th Annual Picture Book Idea Month hosted by the lovely Tara Lazar. On a personal note, for the second year in a row, my 9th grade English honors students will participate for extra credit. I hope to share their creative ideas with you in the future!

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2013 PiBoIdMo

24 Oct

While fall is cooling our bodies as winter prepares to visit, allow Tara Lazar’s Picture Book Idea Month to warm your creative soul!

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CraveWriting has participated for the past three years and looks forward to awakening from a dormant period of children’s book writing hibernation. We strongly encourage all imaginators to participate by visiting TaraLazar.com and creating 30 original picture book ideas during the month of November.

Happy imagining everyone!

Writing Contest: 2012 Family Circle Fiction

31 Mar

“Art has never been a popularity contest.” – James Levine

2012 Family Circle Fiction Contest

2011 Contest Winners

One crucial way to prepare for a contest is to study the previous winners. Click to here to read 2011’s winning entries.

OFFICIAL CONTEST RULES

*From the official Family Circle Contest Website, for full details please visit this site.

Contest begins March 1, 2012, and ends September 7, 2012. Entries must be postmarked on or before September 7, 2012, and received by September 14, 2012. Entries will not be acknowledged or returned.

ENTRY: Submit an original (written by entrant), fiction short story of no more than 2,500 words, typed, double-spaced and page numbered on 8-1/2x11paper. Entries must be unpublished and may not have won any prize or award.

LIMIT: Up to two (2) entries per person will be accepted but each entry must be a unique short story. No group entries.

ELIGIBILITY: Legal residents of the 50 United States, and the District of Columbia, 21 years of age or older are eligible to enter.

WINNER SELECTION: On or about October 15, 2012, a qualified panel of judges will judge eligible entries equally on the basis of sustained writing ability (25%), topic creativity (25%), originality (25%), and overall excellence (25%). One (1) grand prize winner and two (2) runners-up will be selected. In the event of a tie, a qualified panel of judges will determine the winner based on the criterion of overall excellence.

PRIZING: One (1) Grand Prize winner will receive a prize package including a check for $750.00, a gift certificate to one (1) mediabistro.com course of his or her choice, up to a value of $610.00, one (1) year mediabistro.com AvantGuild membership valued at $55.00, and a one (1) year mediabistro.com How-to Video membership valued at $99.00. Total approximate retail value of grand prize package $1,514.00. One (1) Second Place winner will receive a check for $250.00, a one (1) year mediabistro.com AvantGuild membership valued at $55.00, and a one (1) year mediabistro.com How-to Video membership valued at $99.00. Total retail value (?RV?) of second place prize package $404.00. One (1) Third Place winner will receive a check for $250.00 and a one (1) year mediabistro.com AvantGuild membership valued at $55.00. Total RV of third place prize package $305.00. One (1) prize per household.

Copyright © 2012 Meredith Corporation.

Writing Contest: The Writer’s Short Story 2012

27 Mar

From The Writer Website:

Here’s your chance to win money and get published!

In collaboration with Gotham Writers’ Workshop, Writer’s Magazine is sponsoring The Writer2012 Short-Story Contest, which offers great prizes to the top three finishers!

Contest prizes:

 First prize: $1,000; a free 10-week creative writing workshop offered online by Gotham Writers’ Workshop ($420 value); publication in The Writer and on WriterMag.com; and a one-year subscription to The Writer. • Second prize: $300; free enrollment in a four-week How to Get Published seminar taught online by a literary agent and Gotham Writers’ Workshop ($150 value); publication on WriterMag.com; and a one-year subscription to The Writer. • Third prize: $200; free enrollment in a four-week How to Get Publishedseminar taught online by a literary agent and Gotham Writers’ Workshop ($150 value); publication on WriterMag.com; and a one-year subscription to The Writer.

Contest Overview: We’re looking for your original, unpublished short stories up to 2,000 words. Entries must be in English and submitted by the author, who must be at least 18 years old at the time of entry. No explicit sex, graphic language or graphic violence. Entries will be judged based on creativity, sense of story, characterization, and overall quality of writing, including grammar, punctuation and syntax. Writers may submit more than one story, but each story must be accompanied by a separate entry fee. Complete rules and FAQs are available at WriterMag.GothamWriters.com.

Entry fee:$10 per story submitted.Deadline: All entries must be submitted online by midnight (EDT) on April 30, 2012.


Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss

3 Mar

In celebration of the anniversary of Dr. Seuss’s birth, here is a video byCollege Humor providing a realistic remix of Dr. Seuss’s classic “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” Click here to view.

Katy Perry’s Sesame Street Remix

13 Feb

After watching Katy Perry deliver a stunning performance of her new single “Part of Me” at the 2012 Grammy Awards, I thought more than a 30 year old man should about her library of tunes. In my defense (and embarrassment) I was in the shower and I started to imagine how wonderful it would be to use the lyrics from some of Katy Perry’s songs as the textual basis for a series of picture books. We’ve seen it work (at least in sales) with Puff the Magic Dragon and a host of other books I prefer to ignore. But come on, Katy Perry is a hot commodity right/for now, so why not capitalize on it. “Hot and Cold” could blend magically to a child character who doesn’t fit any stereotypes and is all over the place. Well, someone beat me to it… sort of. I’m happy to say that it works!

Jack and the Beanstalk Come to Life

13 Feb

Since you were a child, you’ve planted magic seeds, ascended a giant beanstalk and explored the fearsome giant’s castle. But this was all in your head. While I’m not doubting the power of imagination, how would you like to visit a recreation of the Giant’s castle?

Now you can… if you happen to be on the outskirts of Bangkok. Dream World amusement park has a large fairy tale focus and actually built one of the coolest walk-through and Facebook photo friendly attractions in existence today. Head on over to sister site CraveCoasters and check out this fairy tale come true.

Picture Book Marathon 2012

9 Feb

“BANG!” Equestrian bodies hurl past the open gates. Hooves pound the dirt below. The race is on!

For the past two years I’ve participated in the Picture Book Marathon and am proud to say that each time I came out a winner with 26 new picture book drafts.

This year is a little different. Instead of charging out of the gate, I haven’t moved an inch. Ever see a cartoon where one of the horses lazily stays in its pen. That’s me. I keep waiting for the jockey to whip my behind. Though I need to realize that if I’m going to finish this race it’s up to me and me alone.

It’s already well into the second week with 20 days left to pen the 26 required drafts.

Can I do it? Of course.

Will I? Well that’s the question I shouldn’t be pondering. It’s just like those wide receivers in the NFL that look ahead to the endzone before focusing on the catch at hand. What happens? They end up dropping the ball. Someone I love dearly once told me that starting is 50%. In any goal we wish to undertake, the focus shouldn’t be on whether or not we can finish, but rather that we started. I’ve never sat on the other side of an interview, but a resume full of half endeavours looks more promising than a blank one.

Recently, I’ve had some people astounded by the task at hand saying that 26 drafts is just impossible. Quite the contrary, I find it easy to generate new ideas. The hard part comes later with dissecting the raw draft into a marketable manuscript, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.

By the end of February I hope you will see a post about my conquest, but to be honest I should be worrying about whether I start or not. So who’s with me in leaving the gate and starting the epic Picture Book Marathon of 2012? Better late than never!

Official Information from the Creators:

Your Goal: Between February 1 and February 29, write one picture book a day, until you get to 26. This year, February has 29 days (thus, Take the Leap!), so you get a bonus break day.

The Basics: We define a picture book as (1) a story or narrative, (2) with a  beginning, middle, and end, (3) for children, and (4) intended to be illustrated. They’re generally, though not always, published in a 32 page format. Given the speed of the marathon, your picture book DRAFTS (for that’s what they’ll be) will be very rough. What you hope to capture is the basic plot, characters, and emotion of each story.

Why Do It:
  • Generate a lot of material in a short amount of time.
  • Get your creative juices flowing by forcing yourself to write daily.
  • Circumvent your internal naysayer – they either won’t have time to criticize, or they’ll be too tired.
  • Practice a writing practice.

For encouragement please check out the official PB Marathon blog

Special thanks to the Picture Book Marathon masterminds Lora Koehler and Jean Reagan and illustrator Will Strong for providing the official 2012 logo.

Highway to the Creation Zone: A Peek at Writer Rooms

21 Dec

The magical world of Harry Potter must have whirled itself within J.K. Rowling for years before it became a world wide sensation. But at some point she needed to sit down and scribe every word of the seven book series. So where do authors pen their inspiring works of fiction? What do these desks, spaces, crevices, and creative caves look like?

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