Welcome to Inkygirl: Reading, Writing and Illustrating Children's Books (archive list here) which includes my Creating Picture Books series, Advice For Young Writers and Illustrators, Writer's and Illustrator's Guide To Twitter, interviews, my poetry for young readers, #BookADay, writing/publishing industry surveys, and 250, 500, 1000 Words/Day Writing Challenge. Also see my Inkygirl archives, and comics for writers (including Keiko and Will Write For Chocolate). Also check out my Print-Ready Archives for Teachers, Librarians, Booksellers and Young Readers.
I tweet about the craft and business of writing and illustrating at @inkyelbows. If you're interested in my art or other projects, please do visit DebbieOhi.com. Thanks for visiting! -- Debbie Ridpath Ohi
Sometimes writers get so caught up in promotion and networking that they forget about working on improving their craft. One of my favourite writing craft blogs is that of Gail Carson Levine. Gail has written many books for young people, including the Newbery-winning Ella Enchanted. I highly recommend a visit to her blog at: http://gailcarsonlevine.blogspot.com
You can find some great resources for writers on Laura Resnick's website, including agent-related tips, books and sites for writers. Laura is an experienced writer and author of Rejection, Romance and Royalties: The Wacky World of a Working Writer, among other works. (Couldn't find this title through Indiebound, so had to link to Amazon).
I was recently approached by a publisher who likes my illustrations, asking if I had any stories to go with them. I've started using Zengobi's Curio to brainstorm. LOVE this program. I'm also using it to brainstorm about my other writing projects, both fiction and nonfiction, as well as my cartoons. Curio's creator is unsure about whether to create an iPad-friendly version and is asking for feedback on the Curio forums:
I'd love to hear from some students given that we have a TON of college students using Curio. Are you going to be purchasing an iPad? To supplement your Macbook or for replacing it? Likewise, we have a ton of professional users (designers, filmmakers, and other creative types, and plus engineers, scientists, etc) using Curio. What are your thoughts on the iPad?If you're a Curio user who love to see a version for the iPad, please do post your opinion on the Zengobi Curio forum! Here are some useful posts about how writers use Curio: Zengobi Curio : Project Central on my Mac Using Curio to plan a book Curio and Screenwriting Writer's Gem: Curio - by Angela Booth
NOTE: Black Mana released a newer version of Manuscript which fixes many issues mentioned before. Please see my updated post. I recently posted about an iPhone app I'd discovered from Black Mana Studios called Manuscript, and said that I'd test it out so the rest of you could decide whether it was worth the $7.99. Sadly, my experience has not been the greatest so far. I tried creating a document in Google Documents and importing it into Manuscript, but it didn't work. After reading this thread I tried making the first line in my Google doc blank, as above. Here's the image of the virtual cover that resulted: In the Manuscript library, I'm told that my document has no pages: And when I look in the Chapters section, I don't see any sign that any text has been imported: From the look of the Black Mana Studios forums for this app, it looks as though I'm not the only one who has been having problems: My advice to you? Save your money until the company has fixed the app.
I've been working on more graphic illustration projects lately, and have been looking for a good brainstorming tool. Scrivener is good for text only but not as easy to use when it comes to combining images and text in different configurations on the fly. Corel Painter is great for pure illustration but not as good for illustration and text brainstorming. I was prompted to download a 60-day free trial version of Zengobi's Curio when I found out that it was hooked with up Evernote. I love Evernote and love the idea of having everything I send to Evernote immediately available to me within Curio. During my trial period, I'm going to try using Curio as a place to collect story seeds: clippings, thoughts, scribbles, photos, music -- pretty much anything that could come together to spark a story. When a story idea gels enough, I'll switch to Scrivener to work on the detailed outline and text. Though for picture books and graphic novel projects, who knows? Maybe Curio would be a good fit. If you're curious to find out more about Curio: Zengobi's Curio site Angela Booth's review: "Curio, Writer's Gem" New York Times review of Curio TUAW review of Curio
StoryPages could be a useful iPhone app for those working on picture books or graphic novels. The app lets you create storyboard style pages with your drawing in a top panel and typed text in a bottom panel, mimicking storyboards used in movie production. You can draw in fullscreen (landscape or portrait) and (if you want) add a background to set the scene or use as a tracing template with transparency control. From the website:
StoryPages can be used for sketching movie scenes, animations, and comics. Use it for keeping a record of your product ideas, visual instructions (for hardware, electronics, contractors and landscapers), help files, construction and restoration projects, teacher curriculum, travelogues, hobbies, dream recording and more.Instead of drawing right the app, you can import an image/drawing from the Camera Roll. This could be a handy brainstorming tool for a picture book writer-illustrator. StoryPages is currently $2.99 in the iTunes store. You can find out more info as well as see extra screenshots on the SpinThought StoryPages website. I'll post a follow-up review once I've had a chance to use it for an actual project.
StoryPlease is a storytelling app that lets you record a story in your own voice, or your can use the default professional recording. I first came across the StoryPlease people (person?) when they attended the #kidlitart chat last night. During the chat, they said they were purchasing the rights to use illustrations/characters in digital format for the iPhone and iPad. For 99 cents, I couldn't resist buying a copy from the iTunes store to try out to see how useful this might be to picture book writers. However, it looks as though you can't add your own stories. The app comes with two stories, but it looks as if you have to pay to get more. Every time I tried recording a line, the app crashed on me, and I was also unsuccessful getting the auto-read function to work properly. Unfortunately I can't recommend this for writers, but future versions of the app may be of interest to parents with young children, depending on what stories the developer adds.
One of my favourite blog reads these days: Routines For Writers. I've always -loved- reading about other writers' work habits, and that's exactly what Stephanie Shackelford, Shonna Slayton and Kitty Bucholtz talk about in this group blog. I have this site on my Daily Morning Read list for inspiration.
A while back I mentioned I loved Pam Bachorz's CANDOR (Egmont USA). I was inspired to post a comic about it. Not only was the site entertaining, but it's a brilliant book promo. Pam also created a clever website about the fictional Candor, Florida as if it was a real place. I asked about her inspiration, and here's what she replied:
I was inspired to create candorfl.com, first and foremost, because it was FUN. I spent countless hours of real towns' real estate sites, back when we were house-shopping in Florida, and I thought it would be very cool to give Candor, Florida a "real" web presence. And of course I figured this would be both a way to intrigue new readers and to extend the "experience" of CANDOR for people who had already read the book. I've gotten a lot of funny e-mails from people who visit the site--asking me for CDs to "help' their teens or for CDs to "persuade" their parents to do something. Some of the site's visitors, frighteningly, seem to take it as proof that the town really exists. I've gotten some very earnest queries for help from people who seem to think Candor, Florida will fix their family's problems and I can't decide if I'm being punked or if people are just really confused. I love when people comment on the bulletin board posts, on the site, offering to bring treats to the SAT study party!
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