Quarterlife+


Pre-MGMing: Day 2

Posted in Writing by Ashley Franklin on February 24, 2016
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Today is all about brainstorming. I’m going to be completely transparent. All I have for this Middle Grade Mastery course is an idea. Don’t get me wrong, I did submit a pitch for the scholarship.  (Shout out to Dr. Mira Reisberg and the folks over at the Children’s Book Academy for offering the Andrea Davis Pinkney Merit Scholarship!) That pitch is all I had until today.

Like any mom, I sometimes have to hide from my kids. I most often hide in the tub. So today, me and my tub journal were able to come up with a few possible titles (three to be exact & one isn’t too terrible). I also named my main character, gave her a nickname, and came up with a few problems for her to get over.

Let’s hear it for the tub journal!

Pre-MGMing: Day 1

Okay, so I am probably the LEAST organized person ever. How I’ve managed to survive this long is nothing short of a miracle. So, last week was the end of Susanna’s Making Picture Book Magic course, and I can truly say that it was filled with lots of information gems. Be it that I live my life on my computer, and occasionally get sick of staring at a screen, I decided to print out the course’s lessons.  They’re sitting in a stack right now, but i have plans for them. Seriously, I have an expanding folder and a couple of 3-ring notebooks.

Surely that’s a recipe of something akin to organization. All I know is  that CBA’s Middle Grade Mastery course starts on Monday, and I can’t go into it half-stepping. I’m thinking of designating one notebook for picture book related things, the other notebook for current writing, and the expanding folder for the MGM course.

I think I can work with that. We’ll see. How do you stay organized?

 

 

ReForReMo (maybe next time)

I had eagerly signed up for ReForReMo as soon as we were allowed. With what I perceive as the success that I had during PiBoIdMo, I vowed to not miss another children’s book challenge again! Well, some vows are made to be broken.

While I really want to participate, I simply can’t. I just finished Susanna Hill’s course yesterday, and I’ll be started CBA’s Middle Grade Mastery course at the end of the month.

Maybe if I wasn’t working I could pull all of this off, but I simply cannot. I’m only one person, and these tasks are many. I’m not a fan of doing something halfway. Let me change that. I’m not a fan of doing something that I love halfway, and I love to write.

If you have the time to do ReForReMo, do let me know how it goes. I’m all ears. If you’ll also be a part of CBA’s Middle Grade Mastery course, I’d love to know that too. Being a part of the writing community can benefit your craft. It can also make the journey a lot less lonely.

Sheena the Sour Salesgirl (contest entry)

Posted in Writing by Ashley Franklin on February 8, 2016
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It’s that time again! Susanna Leonard Hill is having another holiday contest.  For the First Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Contest, your Valentine’s story has to be 214 words or less and include a grumpy character. You can find the full contest rules here:

Oh, Boy! We’re Going To Have Some Fun Now!

I’m not going to lie. I had no idea it would be so hard to write with so few words. It made my soul a little sad, and I was grumpy while revising. Still, I did manage to pull something together in the end, and here it is:

 

Sheena the Sour Salesgirl

Sheena sells seashells down by the seashore each and every Valentine’s Day, but today frosty weather has made seashell selling slow.

“Snow?” Sheena asked, surprised as a snowflake somersaulted towards her shoe. “Please, go!” she said with a kick.

“Valentine seashells for sale!” shouted Sheena. “Humph!” she said, crossing her arms, as customers skedaddled out of sight. Sheena shook her head sadly at the snowflakes.

To her right, the smoothie store added a sign. “Now selling hot chocolate,” Sheena sneered.  “Now that’s a sneaky selling trick.”

When the sign changed, customers came back. Sheena shook her fist angrily towards the store’s customers.

To the left, Sheena saw the Surfing Spot add a sign. “Now selling teddy bears,” Sheena sneered.  “That’s the second sneaky selling trick I’ve seen today.”

When the sign changed, customers came back. Sheena shook her fist angrily towards the Surfing Spot, the snow, and then her seashells.  She sank in her chair and sulked until an idea nearly smacked her in the face.

“Snowshells for sale!” she screeched. No one came. Sheena sucked her teeth and snatched down her signs.  “Silly snow,” she sputtered.

“Charms?” asked a small voice.

“No, seashells,” snapped Sheena. “Scram!” She saw the ocean-themed bracelet too late. Sheena smacked her head. “SHUCKS!”

Well, that’s all 209 words of it. I hope you enjoyed reading it. Best of luck to all who enter! The prizes look fabulous.

Timing is Everything

Posted in Writing by Ashley Franklin on February 6, 2016
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In a nutshell, I was too early. I queried too early, and I’m not trying to make that same mistake this time. You see, the thing is, it wasn’t until towards the end of the year that I realized that I’d queried agents too early.

I can say that now because I can admit that I had no idea what I was doing. I was also in a rush. I was in a rush without realizing that I needed to spend more time cultivating my writing. I know that I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again because it’s so true:

It’s one thing to write. It’s something totally different to write something according to industry, agent, or publisher expectations.

That’s not to say that you write for them, but you do at least need to make sure that your writing matches their interests when you go to submit. You want your writing to show that you know what you’re doing.

Trust me. It’ll save you a lot of time and wasted energy. unnecessary stress.

Dear SCBWI

Posted in Writing by Ashley Franklin on January 27, 2016
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Dear SCBWI,

I’ve heard so much about you that I feel like I already know you. Still, I’m nervous about the possibility of our new relationship. You see, there are so many out there selling dreams with a hefty price tag. It’s enough to make a girl’s head spin!

I can’t deny that you’ve come highly recommended from so many others, and you do seem so solid when compared to others.  While that gives me hope, it also makes me apprehensive. What can I get out of this relationship? Have you already given the best part of yourself to others? What’s left for me? Will you be good to me as well?

We may be destined for each other! Who am I to get in the way of fate? (Well…my paycheck might, so give me a couple of weeks.)

Though I can’t deny the butterflies, I am excited for what may come. Here’s to new beginnings!

Love,

Ashley

Picture Book Magic (the beginning)

I’m taking a class! Writing isn’t always about writing. You can write well, but it still won’t get you anywhere for several reasons:

  1. There’s no audience for it.
  2. Bad timing.
  3. You write well, but the format or style isn’t right.

I’m trying to do my part so that there are fewer and fewer reasons as to why I”m not a published author. So, my first big step of 2016 was signing up for Susanna Leonard Hill’s Picture Book Magic course. I’m doing the self-paced version, but she does have an interactive version.

I’m only on my second day, but I like it so far. The main appeal, for me, is that the lessons are 30 minutes or shorter. That works for me! As someone who always has too many things going on at once, easily digestible lessons are essential. I’ll let you know how it goes. Wish me luck!

ReviMo hurts

Posted in Writing by Ashley Franklin on January 14, 2016
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So it’s revision week, Meg Miller’s ReviMO, and it kinda hurts. I always tell my students how important the revision process is, and I stand by that. I have never told them that revision doesn’t suck. I stand by that as well.

I have one favorite manuscript that I’ve rewritten like 8 times. To me, that’s like 6 times more than I’ve ever revised anything. Apparently, I know nothing. (Side note: I’m really going to need Jon Snow to not be dead. I’ve had plenty of time to process it, and I still don’t accept it.) In one of our blog posts for the week, which I’m too lazy to dig up, the author spoke of having revised a draft 39 times.

The ambitious writer living inside of me almost cursed.

Still, I’m not getting any bites with my current version of the story, and while it sucks to give it an overhaul, that’s my mission of the night.

I’m not sure where my writing journey will lead me, but I can definitely say that I’m learning every step of the way. Part of me wants to say that I hope it doesn’t take me over 30 drafts to get a manuscript right, but I think the better thing to say would be this:

I hope that I have the drive to do however many drafts it takes of whatever manuscript in order to reach the level of success that I hope to achieve.

 

Writing Goals vs. Writing Expectations

Posted in Writing by Ashley Franklin on January 3, 2016
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I feel like goals and resolutions give you too much wiggle room not to do them. You don’t meet a goal, hey, you just set a new one. If resolutions stuck, some people wouldn’t be making the same ones every single year. That’s just my personal opinion.

That being said, I have some writing expectations for 2016. I expect to write at least 12 picture book drafts. That is a lofty goal. If it wasn’t there wouldn’t be a 12X12 group. I don’t need cheerleaders like that. I’m sure that works for some folk, but a big, organized group would probably do me more harm than good at this point. Why? I hate when people feel left out, so I always feel obligated to respond or help or lend an “ear.” I’m not going to get much written if I keep letting myself get distracted. Does that mean I just don’t care about anyone else’s writing goals? No! Do I believe that we’re all in this together? No! We’re not. Wait…that’s a good thing.

Each writer has his/her strengths, weaknesses, hopes, and dreams. Personally, I think that my own desires are pushing me towards needing more critique partners and spending more time actually writing.

Will I still be available to lend a helping hand or an ear to someone who is up and coming like myself? Of course! I just have to pace myself.

Oh, so what’s my other writing expectation for the year? I plan on writing a middle grade novel. I bet you didn’t see that coming, lol.

I have huge expectations, I know. But, I’ve already written two picture book drafts since the 1st of the year. Are they polished? No. There’s a picture book revision week/ month starting soon, and I’m saving revisions for that time.

I’m  all for working smarter in 2016. Let’s see how this goes. Wish me luck, good fortune, and growth.

 

The year I got off my butt

Posted in Life,Writing by Ashley Franklin on December 29, 2015
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You know what’s funny about wanting to be a writer, you have to actually write to do it. Mind blown, huh?

I’ve always dreamed of being a writer, but this was the first year I actually put forth the effort to reach that goal. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t know that the journey would be this intensely hard, but it is.

I don’t do well with no, and I don’t do well with things that take forever. (I’m pretty sure I was pregnant for like 3 years!) Still, I am sticking to it. That’s a major accomplishment for me, and I hope expect to do even better in the new year–especially when it comes to actively writing and being a part of writing communities.

Children’s author Julie Hedlund, challenged participants of her 12 Days of Christmas for Writers series to post SUCCESSES (rather than resolutions) on our blogs this year. She believes the way New Year’s resolutions are traditionally made come from a place of negativity – what DIDN’T get done or achieved in the previous year.  Instead, she suggests we set goals for the New Year that BUILD on our achievements from the previous one. I decided to participate in this Anti-Resolution Revolution! Here is my list of 2015 successes:

  1. I completed PiBoIdMo with more than 30 ideas.
  2. I received a mention in Susanna Leonard Hill’s Holiday contest. ( I won a book!)
  3. I put myself out there and joined a critique group.
  4. I applied for things! (mentorships, scholarships, etc.)
  5. I made some new writer friends who are super encouraging.

I don’t think that’s too shabby for my first year. Besides, the year isn’t over yet. The next couple of days could still be filled with goodies.

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