Thursday, January 29, 2015

Humorous (and Oh, So True) Writing Tips

Fabulously Funny Writing Tips

As an author, I am forever on the lookout for wonderful writing tips!  Behold, the greatest list maybe ever assembled is below.  Not my list, it is one a writer can use in a humorous vein--or not!  Have a look:

1. Avoid Alliteration. Always.
2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
3. Avoid clichés like the plague. (They’re old hat.)
4. Employ the vernacular.
5. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
6. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
7. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
8. Contractions aren’t necessary.
9. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
10. One should never generalize.
11. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
12. Comparisons are as bad as clichés.
13. Don’t be redundant; don’t use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.
14. Profanity sucks.
15. Be more or less specific.
16. Understatement is always best.
17. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
18. One word sentences? Eliminate.
19. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
20. The passive voice is to be avoided.
21. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
22. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
23. Who needs rhetorical questions?
24. Parenthetical words however must be enclosed in commas.
25. It behooves you to avoid archaic expressions.
26. Avoid archaeic spellings too.
27. Don't repeat yourself, or say again what you have said before.
28. Don't use commas, that, are not, necessary.
29. Do not use hyperbole; not one in a million can do it effectively.
30. Never use a big word when a diminutive alternative would suffice.
31. Subject and verb always has to agree.
32. Placing a comma between subject and predicate, is not correct.
33. Use youre spell chekker to avoid mispeling and to catch typograhpical errers.
34. Don't repeat yourself, or say again what you have said before.
35. Use the apostrophe in it's proper place and omit it when its not needed.
36. Don't never use no double negatives.
37. Poofread carefully to see if you any words out.
38. Hopefully, you will use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
39. Eschew obfuscation.
40. No sentence fragments.
41. Don't indulge in sesquipedalian lexicological constructions.
42. A writer must not shift your point of view.
43. Don't overuse exclamation marks!!
44. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.
45. Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
46. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
47. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
48. Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.
49. Always pick on the correct idiom.
50. The adverb always follows the verb.
51. Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.
52. If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be by rereading and editing.
52. And always be sure to finish what you begin--if you find it's worthy!

Monday, January 19, 2015

The We Need Diverse Books Fundraising Campaign and New Video

We Need Diverse Books is a grassroots organization created to address the lack of diverse, non-majority narratives in children’s literature. We Need Diverse Books is committed to the ideal that embracing diversity will lead to acceptance, empathy, and ultimately equality.
Their mission statement is:

We recognize all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities. Our mission is to promote or amplify diversification efforts and increase visibility for diverse books and authors, with a goal of empowering a wide range of readers in the process. 

The team have launched a crowdfunding venture on Indiegogo and hope to raise $100,000.00 that will be used towards several different projects. Future plans include bringing diverse books and authors into disadvantaged schools, initiating the Walter Dean Myers Award & Grant program, and launching the inaugural Kidlit Diversity Festival in Washington, D.C.
Have a look at a video about the campaign above; it features appearances from Matt de la PeñaJohn GreenMarie LuCindy PonGrace LinLamar GilesTim FederleJacqueline Woodson, and Arthur LevineFollow this link to read a transcript. What do you think?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Five Charities That Promote Literacy

First Book1. First Book: “At First Book, our innovative approaches tackle the single biggest barrier to the development of literacy – access to books. To date, First Book has provided more than 120 million books to children in need, increasing access to needed materials for educators and administrators, and helping to elevate educational opportunities for our nation’s most disadvantaged youth.”

2. Donors “ is an online charity that makes it easy for anyone to help students in need. Public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests on our site, and you can give any amount to the project that most inspires you.”

3. We Give Books: “We Give Books distributes books to children in need across 5 continents through our Charity Partners. Featured Charity Partners receive book donations from We Give Books on an ongoing basis.” 

4. Better World Books: “Better World Books uses the power of business to change the world. We collect and sell books online to donate books and fund literacy initiatives worldwide. With more than 8 million new and used titles in stock, we’re a self-sustaining, triple-bottom-line company that creates social, economic and environmental value for all our stakeholders.”

BetterWorldBooks.com5. Girls Write Now: “Founded in 1998, Girls Write Now is the first organization in the country with a writing and mentoring model exclusively for girls. Girls Write Now provides guidance, support, and opportunities for at-risk and underserved girls from New York City’s public high schools to develop their creative, independent voices, explore careers in professional writing, and learn how to make healthy school, career and life choices.”

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

What Kids Want From Books!

scholasticA surprising 73 percent of kids report the they would read more if they could find more books that they liked, according to a new report by Scholastic.

The Kids & Family Reading Report: Fifth Edition, which comes out entirely in January, examines the reading habits of kids 6-17. The research reveals that  70 percent of kids want to read a book that will make them laugh when reading for fun and 54 percent like reading books that allow them to use their imagination.
Different age groups seek different types of stories. According to the report kids 6-8 like to read books with characters that look like them and kids 9-11 enjoy with a mystery or problem to solve, whereas 12-14 year olds look for books with smart, strong or brave characters and 15-17 year olds are looking for books that allow them to escape.

Here is what kids of different ages are seeking:
54% say:  Let me use my imagination.
48% say:  Tell me a made-up story.
43% have characters they want to be like because they are smart, strong, or brave.
43% teach me something new.
41% have a puzzle or mystery to solve.
*73% say:  I would read more if I could find books I like!

Kids 6 to 8
Are more likely than older kids to want:books with characters that look like them.
Kids 9 to 11
Are more likely than younger kids to want:books that have amystery or problem to solve.
Kids 12 to 14
Are more likely than older kids to want:books with smart, strong or brave characters.
Kids 15 to 17
Are more likely than younger kids to want:books that let them forget about real life for a while.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Jeremiah Lucky and the Guardian Angel by Jane Ellen Freeman

A lovely kids' chapter book titled Jeremiah Lucky and the Guardian Angel, has just been published (Guardian Angel Publishing) and is one I'd recommend for your independent readers.

Jane Ellen Freeman, an author of children's books, wrote the book and dedicated it to "all children being raised by a single parent."  The book takes the reader through several days of Jeremiah's life, both at school and at home.  There is much to be admired in the eight-year-old's home life.  His mom is a nurse who loves and supports her son, and in spite of his fireman father's death in the line of duty, Jeremiah is a lucky boy!  

The story is a sweet one that in some ways reminds me of Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life.  And as with that classic film, a guardian angel named Angus McDermit, appears to Jeremiah just when he needs one most!

The illustrations, which I love, were done by Eric Hammond and are reflective of the nurturing atmosphere of the story.  Ms. Freeman and Mr. Hammond, however, never fail to keep the book moving at an appropriate and interesting pace for young ones. 

The author is a former teacher who divides her time between her home in West Virginia and Florida. Now a full-time writer, Jane writes for children, teens, and adults and is a member of Florida Writers Association andthe Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

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