Monday, July 26, 2010

Institiute of Children's Literature assignment 2

On Assignment two of the Institute of Children's Literature I learned how to cluster words and form them into ideas and then into a story. I studied the examples of stories in the "Best of the Children's Market"( I love this book and refer to it often.)

I was given a list of words to choose from and could use as many as five. Depending on the age I was writing for determined the length of my story.
I learned about beginning, middle and endings of stories and how to put it all together.

Since the maximum number of word counts to be used was 1000, I learned to narrow down the story and focus on one aspect.

On my feedback from my instructor I was told I needed more description. I have a hard time trying to add description in without making it sound forced.

The other thing I need to work on is conflict.I was referred to two "Talk About" which are very helpful and I have printed them out and refer to them often.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Part One Materials-ICL

In part one of the Institute of Children's Literature along with the course manual I received "Best of the Children's Market" and "From Inspiration to Publication".
The "Best Of the Children's Market" is invaluable as a study guide. This is a collection of stories that have been published. It tells the word count, magazine it appeared in, genre, and a personal note from the author.

When I read a story or nonfiction article in a magazine I often wonder "How many words is that, exactly?" This book tells you. It is also categorized by age and fiction and nonfiction.

The book: "From Inspiration to Publication" is also a good tool. It has articles to help you as a writer from beginning, characters, plotting and even researching. I have chapters assigned to read by the course work.

I have tabbed pages for quick reference and underlined and written notes in this book. It is well worn and I'm only halfway through the course.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

My ICL experience Assignment One

I belong to the Southern-Breeze region of Society of Children's book Writers and Illustrators and once in a while someone will ask about the Institute of Children's Literature correspondence course, so I thought I would blog about my experience.

First of all I was a skeptic, I saw these ads all the time and just thought it was a hoax. Then I talked to other writers who took the course and actually sold some of their stories they did as assignments.

Being my impulsive self, I sent off for the test for both the Long Writers course (writing for adults) and the ICL course. I got accepted by Long Ridge first and learned a lot, but so far nothing published. My friend Pat had already done the ICL course and learned a lot of things that were not covered under the Long Ridge and since writing for children is what I really wanted to do, I took the ICL course as soon as I finished the Long Ridge course.

I would recommend either course.

For the first assignment I was given three pictures to choose from and to write a story using the pictures as a jump start to a story idea.
I learned to have more than just an idea, to have a beginning, middle and end. I learned to use dialogue to give information, describe a setting and to stay with in a specified word count- something magazines will want me to do if they are going to publish my story.

One thing I learned during the Long Ridge course was that you can do this course entirely on line. I had started with mailing my assignments in and then learned that I could e-mail them. The turn around time is much faster too.

ICL and Long Ridge both will not just take your money and forget about you. If you do not turn your assignment in on time they will check up on you, offer encouragement and other aids.
If you need more time for an assignment you can go to the Student Center and request more time. So even if you are working, you can go at your own pace.
They also offer different ways to pay and offers that include discounts.

The feedback is phenomenal too. Specific to my writing ability and offers other helps called "Talk Abouts" to work on certain problems I am having.

If you are reading this and have taken the course please respond by telling me what worked for you and what didn't.

If you are considering taking the ICL course and have questions, please feel free to ask, if I can't answer I'm sure others will be able to.

Good luck on your writing venture.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th and Woes Me!

George Washington addressing his men in Williamsburg

Hope everyone has a Happy 4th of July and remember the folks that gave lives and limbs for this freedom.
Thank you to all of you in the services and May God Bless the USA!

Well I did the unthinkable, I lost the draft of the new story I was working on for assignment 6 of my ICL course. I don't for the life of know how I did that. I always save my drafts and I think this is the first time this has happened and I didn't even have a hard copy. I looked in all my storage devices. I have been working on procedure manuals and finished the last one Saturday night.
My good friend Pat Weaver said I needed to write it over anyway and I agreed. But I wanted to get the first draft down before I started editing.
So I guess you know where I will be starting tomorrow...