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 IllustratorsWriter'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


A Tale To Tell: Collaborative Illustrated Storytelling

Screen shot 2011 02 25 at 7 33 19 AM

(via David Diaz on Facebook)

URL: http://www.taletotellproject.com/

I've seen a ton of collaborative text storytelling sites but this is the first illustrated version. Intriguing! I'd volunteer but it looks as if they're booked up until at least the summer already.

From their About page:

A Tale to Tell is an illustrated, collaborative storytelling project where each week a new illustrator/artist will be invited to submit the next part of the story, with a text entry and an illustration to accompany it.  Each artist responds to the story as it was left by the previous, taking the story wherever they wish and leaving it open for the next person to continue!  Creating an elaborate, imaginative tale from the minds of some of the most creative people around.

For now, the project exists in online form but further down the line we will also be looking into getting our collective narrative published.


Mesmerizing Video: Organizing The Bookcase

Short and fascinating.

Thanks to David Diaz for the link.


Writers For The Red Cross

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I'm participating in Writers For The Red Cross, and am donating a selection of my writer greeting cards as well as a hand-drawn doodle and handwritten instapoem to the winner of the bid. Read more here. Bidding doesn't start until the event officially kicks off on March 1st.

About the event, from the site:

This online event celebrates Red Cross Month (March 1-31). It is intended to raise funds and awareness for the Red Cross and its work in communities across the country. We’re auctioning off publishing-related items and services donated by authors, publicists, agents, and editors. We’ll also have daily guest posts from authors about “What the Red Cross Means to Me.” All donors who give over $25 will also be able to select one free book from a range of books donated and shipped by publishers for the event.

To find out more about Writers For The Red Cross and about the other participants, organizers and bookstore partners, please visit the Writers For The Red Cross site.


Writers and Voice

Voice 003

I've posted the first in my series about "Writers and Voice" over in the MiG Writers blog, for those interested.


Reminder to writers: Don't forget to take regular breaks!

Writers: Don't forget to take regular breaks from your computer

I love my work. The one downside: I tend to work WAY too long without taking breaks. Although it sounds counter-intuitive, I find that taking regular breaks from the computer makes me MORE productive, not less.

Taking a few minutes to  stretch helps prevent repetitive stress injuries. Forcing yourself away from the keyboard to get some fresh air can also help put things in perspective and spark new ideas. While writers need to write, they also sometimes need to NOT write.

Right now I'm looking for Mac software that will remind me to take breaks  from my computer throughout the work day.  I used to have a great little application, but  the  developer no longer supports it, sadly.

I have tried several types of programs  ever since, but so far I haven't been completely happy with any of them.

I'd like the reminders to be customizable and to not interrupt a work task in progress. I'd like the option of scheduling mini computer breaks as well as longer breaks. I want to be able to end any computer break sooner if I need to. The last application I tried drove me crazy because the keyboard was completely inaccessible at times.

What about the rest of you? Do you have any system in place to make sure you aren't punched over the keyboard for hours at a time without a break?


Photographic evidence of the fading Twilight trend


Photo taken at a Walmart on the weekend.


Writers and Voice: new comic up on Writer Unboxed

Posted a new comic on Writer Unboxed today, inspired by my recent investigation into voice. I'll be starting a series of post on voice on the MiG Writers blog soon, every Thursday, so stay tuned!


NaNoEdMo - National Novel Editing Month

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I was reading this post in Writer Unboxed and thought I'd remind you all about National Novel Editing Month.

Looking for motivation to edit your manuscript? Check out NaNoEdiMo, which is a challenge to writers to spend 50 hours in March editing your novel.

An excerpt from the site:

You have entered the portal to the crazy world of novel editing. Have you written a 50,000 word novel but haven't edited it yet? Then you've come to the right place! It is here that people from all over the world gather together to spend 50 hours in March editing their novels. This is not as easy as it might sound but the forums are available to get advice and ask all the important questions you may have. Advice from real published authors will also be here to help you and a certificate of completion awaits each winner at the end of the month.

URL: http://www.nanoedmo.net/xoops2/


Comic: Valentine's Rejection (revamped)

I decided to revamp the old version of the cartoon in honor of today. :-)


Routines For Writers, Erin Bow and Writing Spaces

GoldenCupcake 200w

One of my favourite sites for writers: ROUTINES FOR WRITERS. Their posts are almost always inspirational and/or informative. Not surprising, considering their tagline: "Helping Writers Write More"

Today's post on their blog is no exception, an interview with Erin Bow. I've always enjoyed learning how about how writers organize a space, and it was fascinating to read how Erin ended up using a pole dance studio for her writing office (!).

I'm also intrigued by the fact that her office has no Internet access, no phone and no doorbell on purpose, so she can totally focus on her writing. Wow, now THAT'S dedication. Since so much my work is tied into being online, I don't think I'd be able to do this.

But hm...maybe a variation? Must think on this...

Meanwhile, congrats to ROUTINES FOR WRITERS on winning an Inkygirl Golden Cupcake Award!


My two main takeaways from the SCBWI conference in NYC

SCBWI NYC Takeaways

When I first saw the word "takeaways" in people's conference reports, I was confused. What were takeaways? Were they giving out free food?!? I was even MORE disappointed that I had missed the event!

But no, takeaways are key messages you've learned at a conference. They can vary from person to person, depending on their own situations and experiences.

I'll be posting more details about my takeaways from various panels and workshops, but overall my main takeaways were:

1. What's most important: STORY and CHARACTERS. Some panelists listed both while others just listed story, but the message was the same. It doesn't matter what format a book is in if the story sucks. Voice and style can help make good writing, but aren't nearly as important as having a story and characters that the reader cares about.

2. Do the work. Get it written. Don't get too obsessed with the process, or networking and promoting, or all the other extras that can be good but NOT if they're keeping you from doing the work. This is something that has really hit home for me, which is why I'll probably be easing back somewhat from social media. (Ok, I'll still be posting a lot compared to some people, but it'll be easing back for me!)

Both of these apply to both writers AND illustrators -- I'll be interpreting the takeaways from an illustrators' point of view and posting them in the SCBWI Illustrators' Mentees Blog soon.


Daily Word Count Challenge: 250, 500, 1000 wds/day

URL shortcut for this challenge: http://bit.ly/dailywords

Ok, remember when I said that my goal of writing 500 words a day was probably too easy and that I may upgrade? Glad I decided to wait, because these past few weeks have been craaaaaazy, Mainly due to prep for my trip to New York, but also because of my current illustration schedule.

So I'm going to stick with 500 wds/day. :-)

How about the rest of you? How have you been doing with your individual challenges? Feel free to post on the Facebook Group page instead.


NYC Trip Report (Part 1): Mark Fowler, Rights Of Writers, and The Center For Fiction

Not sure how many of you used Inkspot or subscribed to Inklings back in the early days of the Web (whoa, that sounds so ANCIENT now, doesn't it?) but one of my columnists was Mark Fowler. Mark did the ASK THE LAWYER column. SOOOO great to finally meet Mark in person.

With Mark Fowler in NYC

Mark is an attorney at Satterlee Stephens Burke & Burke LLP, and also blogs at RIGHTS OF WRITERS: A Blog About Writing And The Law.

I strongly advise you to check out Mark's blog, which has a ton of great info for writers. Mark says he is also open to suggestions about topics he should blog about, but says that he's unable (for legal reasons) to answer questions that are specific to your own situation e.g. individual advice.


Mark is also on the board of The Center For Fiction, the only nonprofit in the U.S. solely dedicated to celebrating fiction, working every day to connect readers and writers.

Anyway, check out the view from the floor where he works:

View from Mark's office floor

THANK you, Mark, for taking the time to get together!


Laurent Linn & Excitement & CAN'T WAIT


Ok, so that may not have been the most coherent blog post title I've ever written but I CAN'T HELP IT! Because I just found out that I'm going to be working with LAURENT LINN at Simon & Schuster as I illustrate Michael Ian Black's new picture book, I'M BORED.

Soooooooooo excited about meeting Laurent in a couple of weeks.


Caught up in comment moderation -- apologies!

I love Squarespace, but their spam-handling tools are abysmal. Supposedly this will be addressed in an upcoming release but so far there's no word on when that release will be.

Waiting for the next Squarespace Release

As a result, anyway, I have to put ALL comments through a moderation stage where each comment needs individual approval (ugh). Time-consuming and a hassle, but it's either that or let all the spam comments through...and there have been a LOT of spam comments which I've had to block.

I've been a bit behind in comment moderation but have caught up now. Apologies for anyone who has been wondering why their comment hasn't been posted!


Reading habits

Reading our iPads in bed

One of the Daily Doodles I've been posted on my DebbieOhi.com blog, to illustrate a post in iPadGirl. As you might guess, it's how Jeff and I do much of our reading. :-)


Promoting My Book Projects On Second Life

Inkygirl Omizu's Fabulous Writer Emporium

My booth on Book Island in Second Life, where I promote my writing/illustration projects as well as sell writer gear (the latter to cover my Second Life expenses). maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Book%20Island/149/131/36

Daily Wordcount Check-In: So how did you all do this past week?

URL shortcut for this challenge: http://bit.ly/dailywords

So how did you all do?

Post your update here or on the Facebook page.


The Today Show Snubs Children's Book Award Winners...And What YOU Can Do About It

(Update: Also see the related Facebook page)

Instead of their traditional interview with the winners of the Newbery and Caldecott Medals in Children's Literature, The Today Show decided to interview Snooki instead. Here's what Lin Oliver of the SCBWI (Society For Children's Book Writers & Performers) said in her letter to The Today Show in response. An excerpt:

"In choosing not to run the interviews with Clare Vanderpool and Erin Stead, television has once again underestimated the intelligence of its audience.  Parents are dying to get their hands on good books for their kids.  Booksellers are eager to sell and promote good books for kids.  It’s good business, good broadcasting and good ethics to honor the best books for children."

If you're as disappointed by The Today Show's choice as I am, I encourage you to post a comment saying so at:



New comic up on Writer Unboxed