Loner in the Garret: A Guest Post by Jennifer R. Hubbard

The upside to freelance writing is that it’s self-directed. You decide what to wear, where to sit, what music to play, when to start and when to stop, how much to do in a day. All those things that a day-job employer controls are in your own hands when you freelance. (Once you start signing contracts, you have deadlines to meet. But you still choose how you’re going to meet those deadlines, and how much to do each day.)

And the downside to freelance writing is that it’s self-directed. If the choices are yours, the responsibilities are yours also. You can get feedback, but it won’t be consistent: The ending that seems abrupt to one reader will strike another as dragging and drawn out. One reader will call your plot fresh and original, while another considers it predictable. And you will have to decide whom to listen to, what to change. You have the responsibility of sitting down and starting, of revising once more when you’d rather be done, of motivating yourself and coping with the rejections that come.

It can get lonely in the writer’s loft. Without a circle of writer friends to share the experience, I might not have the fortitude or the attitude to sit down and face the blank computer screen again and again. And so I decided to produce a “writer’s companion” in book form, addressing these very ups and downs.      LonerintheGarret_Ebook

Loner in the Garret is a series of short discussions on all aspects of writing and publishing. Ideally, it’s meant to be read a page or two at a time, perhaps before a writing session, focusing on whichever topic you most need to read at that moment. But of course, you can read as much or as little as you want, in any order. You’re the boss … which is your challenge and your reward.

Synopsis: Sometimes the most difficult part of writing is not coming up with a plot or the perfect turn of phrase. It’s getting motivated to sit down and start, or having the confidence to go forward, or finding the courage to move past the sting of rejection. Loner in the Garret: A Writer’s Companion provides inspiration and encouragement for that mental and emotional journey. Covering topics as varied as procrastination, the inner critic, fear, distractions, envy, rejection, joy, and playfulness, it charts the ups and downs of the writing life with honesty, gentle suggestions, and a dash of humor.

For more: http://jenniferrhubbard.blogspot.com/p/publications.html       biopic2

Bio: Jennifer R. Hubbard http://www.jenniferhubbard.com is the author of three novels for young adults, several short stories, and a nonfiction book about writing. She lives near Philadelphia with an understanding husband, a pile of books and chocolate, and a   melodramatic cat.

WRITE YOUR STORY…WITH FIRST LINE.

2015 marks the 17th year of The First Line.  This online publication gives writers an opportunity to see one of their stories in print using the format of the same first line.

Here are the new first lines for 2015.

Spring 2015: Fairy tales hardly ever come true for quiet girls.   (Submissions due February 1, 2015.)

Summer 2015: Laura liked to think she was honest with herself; it was everyone else she lied to.   (Submissions due May 1, 2015.)

 Fall 2015: The old neighborhood was nearly unrecognizable.   (Submissions due August 1, 2015.)

 Winter 2015: George pressed the call button and said, “Mrs. Whitfield, you have a visitor.”(Submissions due November 1, 2015.)

The First Line is available on Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006XGLLSU

Calling All Teen Writers!

The third annual One Teen Story Teen Author Contest opens today! Please tell the teen writers in your life that we are excited to read their work.

For the contest, we are seeking unpublished fiction written by teens (age 14-19). The winning story will be published in the May 2015 issue of One Teen Story. Honorable mentions will be chosen in three age categories: 14-15, 16-17, and 18-19-year-olds.

This year’s judge will be Tara Altebrando, author of OTS issue #12, “Soundproof Your Life,” as well as several young adult novels, including The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life, Dreamland Social Club, and Roomies (coauthored with Sara Zarr). Her newest book is the middle-grade novel The Battle of Darcy Lane.

To kick off the contest, we’re offering a special subscription rate. Get or give a year-long subscription of One Teen Story for just $15. Use promo code CONTEST to get this fantastic rate, and you’ll get this year’s contest winner, “Helen” by Claire Spaulding, as a bonus.

The deadline for the contest, and for this offer, is June 30, 2014. Visit our contest page for complete details.

Good luck!

Patrick Ryan
Editor

One Teen Story
232 3rd St. #A108
Brooklyn, NY 11215
www.oneteenstory.com

 

Calling Young Writers Grades 1-8.

The Society of Young Inklings, a non-profit with a mission of empowering young writers, publishes an annual anthology of the stories and poems of talented young writers–this year we are holding a contest to see whose pieces will be included. We are looking for fresh new voices to publish in our anthology.

Young writers in grades 1-8 with stories or poems are encouraged to enter the contest. Submissions must be in final draft and students must commit to completing an editing process if their piece is chosen. For more information on the contest please check HERE.

We’re looking for bloggers who might want to do a guest post about the contest to help us reach students who may not otherwise know about the opportunity. We also have an email specifically for educators in case anyone wants that to pass on to a teacher/librarian. If you’d like that email to forward on, email me directly, and I’m happy to forward it to you.

Here are some Q and A’s about the contest.

Q: Who is the Inklings Book Contest for?

A: All young writers who are ready to take their writing to the next level. Writing is just one part of the creative process. Just as it’s important for actors, musicians and dancers to perform, it’s important for writers to have their stories read and enjoyed. We learn new things about ourselves as writers when we prepare our work for readers, and also when we hear feedback about our published pieces. All writers, regardless of their age, need access to that kind of essential feedback. Plus, it’s inspiring to hear that a reader loved our story, and it makes all the hard work worthwhile. Positive feedback sends writers back to their writing desks to create again.

Q: How will I know if my story is ready to submit?

A: One excellent way to prepare a story for submission is to read it out loud to a friend or a group of friends. Ask for feedback about what’s working and what questions your friends may have. Aside from being a huge confidence booster, you’ll also find out what additions or changes may help your story be more clear and more engaging. Notice where people laugh, in particular, and see if you can magnify that effect. Humor often comes in threes. If you have one funny moment that’s working well, you can build on it by repeating the moment with a small change. On the Young Inklings website, you’ll also find a checklist to help you check the fine details of your story just before sending it in.

Q: Why do you ask all of the writers to revise for the Inklings Book?

A: When professional writers send their work into a publisher, they have the opportunity to work with an editor who helps them refine their work. At some point in the writing process, writers need an outside eye. This person helps us read the story from a new perspective: the perspective of someone who doesn’t have all of our personal memories, experiences and passions. We learn what we might need to add or change to help a reader experience the story fully. Some writers are worried about revising with someone else, because they feel their story shouldn’t be influenced by anyone but themselves. All artists are influenced by many factors, though. Our writing is influenced by the books we read, the experiences we have, the voices in our communities, and many other sources. When an editor provides us with outside perspective, this is just another way to make our writing even more spectacular.

Q: Is it a real, published book?

A: Yep! We’re thrilled because the Inklings Book is not going to only be available online, but also in the fabulous independent store, Hicklebees. Young writers and their mentors will all be contributing authors for the book, so the final product will be a collaboration of many creative minds.
******************
Naomi Kinsman

Executive Director
Society of Young Inklings

www.younginklings.org

Thanks for helping me spread the word to deserving young writers!

 

 

 

Got a Story To Tell? Here Are 2 Ways to Do It.

Today’s post features two children’s book authors who traveled a less traditional route to publication by self-publishing their Picture Books.  The first one is OSCAR HERNANDEZ.  Here’s his story.

When looking into publishing (or self-publishing) a kid’s book, I quickly realized that the options are surprisingly complicated and really tough. Children’s book authors don’t have the technical prowess to create their own book that is modern, competitive with the market, and provides the feedback that they need. Lil’ Readers, is a children’s bookstore app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.  Lil’ Readers allows you to bring high quality, beautifully illustrated and animated children’s books with you wherever you go. Essentially it’s a mobile bookshelf. It’s not an apple IBook, but and independent app through apple. I currently have 5 books in the app. I am still teaching in the classroom where I get to see all the reactions on kid’s faces from reading my books to my students.

                               Oscar book cover

I started writing mini plays for kids; some were good some were bad. Most of them made me laugh, so I kept writing more. Eventually I met a person that inspired me to write a lot; that person was Dr. Joe Robinette. Down to earth, but full of attention to detail, he made me love the art of writing. The writing didn’t have to be a long story; it didn’t even have to be a book. Often it was a two minute skit performed in front of about eight to ten children.   He knew how to make stories come to life, but most importantly he knew what the reader wanted to see. By carefully placing words and phrases in a certain order he would capture a reader and an audience. For all that he taught me, I thank him a million times over.

 Fast forward to my epic writers block and how my first book was born. I was thinking too hard one day, and so I continued to stare at a blank piece of paper. Five minutes went by, my phone rang, ESPN came on and my dog had to potty. The perfect storm of writers block and distraction forced me to put the pen down and go for a run. While on my run I came upon a dog. I also came upon its owner, who was yelling at me NOT to run! Now, I don’t know if you know anything about running for exercise; but running is a huge part of it! Long story short, the dog as old as he was, started to chase me. Luckily for me I was wearing my really, really short- shorts and was able to get a longer strides, leading to my escape.                         runningtailscover

 While on the same run I met another lovely dog, and then another! I couldn’t wait to get home. I started telling that story to people and then it hit me. Stories shouldn’t be forced; it’s not how crazy they are. They are about relating to someone and taking them away into your story as they read it. As it turns out, I’m writing children’s books now. Some are good, none are bad, most of them make everyone laugh and so I will keep going. It hasn’t been the easiest thing I’ve ever done but it’s one of greatest things I will leave behind. My latest book “Just Us” was illustrated by the 2013 finalist of Doddle for Google. The Book came out fantastic; I can’t wait to see where my pen takes me next.

You can contact Oscar at the following:  Facebook- Oscar Hernandez lilreaders  

Instagram-  oskhernandez             email- oscar.stories@gmail.com       Twitter- @osk_hernandez

Here are the books:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/lil-readers-interactive-childrens/id741987182?mt=8

The second story comes from ADAM GIANFORCARO:

Adam Gianforcaro is the author of the poetry collection Morning Time in the Household, Looking Out and the children’s picture book Uma the Umbrella. He has had several other works published in print and online magazines, his most recent work forthcoming in the Los Angeles Review. Gianforcaro works as a writer in Philadelphia and lives in New Jersey.                                                        adam G


Story:

I began writing Uma the Umbrella as an assignment in a class called Writing Children’s Stories at Rowan University. I wanted to portray a story of someone— or something— not fitting in, but finding his or her way somehow, someway. It’s quite an unoriginal idea, but it’s a feeling that is relatable and difficult to accept as a child. The main moral I wanted to portray was that there is no set way of doing things, no set way of living, no set way to find happiness and be content with who we are inside or outside. I can’t remember why I chose an umbrella, but I suspect it was raining that day, and I was likely walking to class clasping the handle of my own umbrella.

When the class adjourned at the end of the semester, I filed the story away on my computer. I found it two years later when I was rummaging through old files. I sent it away for publication to several places to no avail. I was not used to writing for the children’s market, and it was difficult for me to find its way into publication. Ultimately, I went through Halo Publishing International who helped me find an editor and illustrator for my work.                     COVER.pdf-page-001

The book is available in paperback or e-book through the Halo website http://www.halopublishing.com/bookstore/index.php?route=product%2Fsearch&filter_description=true&filter_name=gianforcaro,  Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

 


 

 

 

Calling All Young Writers

If your child loves to create stories, there are two websites that will encourage this skill by publishing the effort.

1. At  http://www.Boomwriter.com   young writers pick a story start and then make Chapter Two their own.  Other children vote on which second chapter they like best, and so on until the story is completed.  Then the finished books are available to purchase.

2. Writers and Artists are invited to submit to the print magazine STONE SOUP.  This magazine publishes the work of children aged 8-13.  To learn more and read some of the stories visit:  http://www.Stonesoup.com

3. Older children might want to check out THE SLAM feature of CICADA Magazine. Writers submit their poems to the online forum and have them critiqued by other readers.  The best ones make it into the magazine each month.  http://www.cicadamag.com/theslam

Storytelling 101

Do you have children who love to make up stories?  Are they always creating characters and acting out scenes during imaginative play?  Here is a website that allows children and teens to write stories and have them published online to share with others.  Check out   http://www.storiesforchildren.com  and let the storyteller in your family go to work.