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


Inkygirl Haven mentioned in The Second Life Enquirer

Recently, I mentioned that Jilly Kidd had generously donated some space for me to set up a display of my work as well as a children's book writer & illustrator resource center on Second Life.

The Second Life Enquirer recently profiled The London School Of Journalism's virtual space station, and I got mentioned. :-) The quote:

Inkygirl Omizu: This RL writer and cartoonist has a lovely display of her work, resources for children's writers, beautifully designed free furniture and items for writers and readers, and desks with writing animations if you'd like to sit and work in her compartment.

Yay! RL, by the way, is short for "Real Life" (as opposed to SL = Second Life).

For those not familiar with Second Life, "Inkygirl Omizu" is my avatar name. Anyway, feel free to check out the article for a description of some of the other LSJ resources for writers. My display is on the second floor.


Comic: Daylight Savings Procrastination


Children's writers and illustrators on Second Life

For those on Second Life, I have an area on the London School Of Journalism space orb devoted to resources for children's writers and illustrators. Many thanks to Jilly Kidd for her generous donation of ad-free space!

After I took the screenshot above this morning, I dropped by the Milk Wood Writers' Dash to see who was up and writing already. The Milk Wood events are for ALL writers, not just those who write for children:

If you're on SL, feel free to add me ("Inkygirl Omizu") as a friend. I have landmarks to both of the places above in my Profile Picks.


New comic for writers on Writer Unboxed

Just posted a new comic over on Writer Unboxed for writers called You May Be Luckier Than You Think.


Yay! Comics are up on the NaNoWriMo site now...


NaNoWriMo comics from the archives

Not sure when Lindsey going to be posting the NaNotoons that Errol and I co-wrote, but I'm going to start posting comics from past NaNoWriMo events:


Learning about rondeaus from Robert Lee Brewer

Was fascinated by Robert Lee Brewer's description of rondeaus today, so decided to step up to the challenge and posted two. Here they are:



I hold my breath as I check mail
Wait for the cruel words to impale
my fragile writer soul so low:
it shudders, rails against the blow.
Yet I will triumph, I'll prevail!

I start again, revise & quail
as my poor baby soon sets sail
into the ether, tidal flow -
I hold my breath.

An answer comes: they like my tale
but want some changes ("do prevail!")
so back to editing below
and next month I will let it go...
and hold my breath.



Oh rondeau woe afflicts me now
as angst and sweat drip from my brow
and once again I wonder why
self-torture so appeals to my
twisted need to figure how.

Because this form does not allow
straying from the path, I vow
to master it before I die
Oh rondeau woe.

I grit my teeth and on I plow
trying to find rhymes somehow,
but my syllables go awry
I curse the French then start to cry
so to this form I do bid ciao...
Oh rondeau woe.


NaNoWriMo Comics

Quite a few of you have asked me if I was going to post daily NaNoWriMo comics this month. Sorry, but I've just got way too much going on right now to manage this BUT my friend Errol and I are contributing three comics a week (they didn't want more than that) to the NaNoWriMo blog! They should start appearing soon, I think; I'll post here when I notice any are up, though the NaNoWriMo site seems to still be in the birthing throes.

I'll also be posting some NaNo comics from last year, in case any of you missed them. :-)


PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) starts today!

Picture books writers (aspiring and experienced): Picture Book Idea Month starts today! Check out Tara Lazar's blog for more info.


Comic: Witch Writer


NaNoDrawMo, NaNoWriMo, PiBoIdMo and PAD

Call me crazy, but I've always loved creative challenges. During the month of November, I'm going to be participating in:

NaNoWriMo: I've been doing background and outlining of my cartoon-illustrated middle grade novel, Vampire Zombie Squirrels From Outer Space, and it's finally time to start writing it. I may not reach 50,000 words, but that's okay. I figure it'll be fun to try, and if I finish the first draft before hitting 50,000 words, that's also okay. Call me a NaNoRebel, but quality is more important to me than quantity in this case.

NaNoDrawMo: Just found out about this drawing challenge from Jeff. The goal: 50 sketches/drawings in a month. I figure I need more sketching practice, so this is a good excuse.

PiBoIdMo: Picture Book Idea Month. The goal: to come up with 30 picture book ideas in 30 days. I'm counting on at least ONE of these ideas being good enough to turn into a picture book mss that I can submit to publishers, along with storyboard sketches.

November PAD: Poem-A-Day Chapbook Challenge. The goal: 30 poems in 30 days, with a daily topic prompt from Robert Lee Brewer. I'm a closet aspiring poet and have even sold a few poems in the past. The whole insta-poem aspect of PAD is creatively liberating, I find.

What about the rest of you? Anyone doing one of the challenges above?



Morning writing session in Second Life

I haven't written about Second Life in a while, but wanted to post this screenshot of the writing session I participated in this morning. Don't know about the rest of you, but I always find it motivating to write while others are working hard around me...one reason I've always loved working in university/college libraries.

My avatar, hard at work

Lacking the time to regularly visit a university library, however, I use Second Life instead. Popped in for an hour this morning for a "Writers' Dash" in the Milk Wood Writers' Colony (hosted by Virtual Writers) where we write for 15 minutes on a word that is announced at the beginning of the dash (prose or poetry) then exchange what we wrote with others.

It's fun, writing in RL while your avatar writes in SL in a gypsy camp with other writers, the sounds of typing all around (manual typewriters as well as laptops and writing by hand) as well as birds singing in the trees. Some of us are also prepping for NaNoWriMo next month, and have our virtual books hanging up the trees, already displaying wordcounts (all read zero words at this point, of course :-)).

I'm "Inkygirl Omizu" on Second Life. Hope to meet some of you there!

If you're a writer wanting to learn more about Second Life, do visit Writers In The (Virtual) Sky. To find out more about Milk Wood and Virtual Writers, see Virtual Writers.


A new NaNoWriMo music video from my friend Errol!

Title: "I Am The Very Model Of A Wrimo Individual," from Errol Elumir. Keep an eye on the NaNoWriMo blog during November from a comic collaboration from Errol and me. :-)


Lack of updates

Sorry for the recent lack of posts, all. I've had a nasty cold for the past week. :-(

Hope everyone's writing is going well!


New comic up on Writer Unboxed!

For those who don't know, I post a comic for writers over on Writer Unboxed on the first and third Saturday of every month.

I just posted a new one this morning. :-)


Looking for a reliable writer, editor or reader?

My MiG critique partner, Carmella VanVleet, is looking for work. I've known Carmella for a couple of years now, and we've also hung out in person.

Carmella has had many books and short pieces for young people published, and I've always found her critique comments extremely useful. She's responsible, accurate and fun.

I strongly recommend her services.

You can find out more about Carmella at:



Elizabeth C. Bunce on world-building and novel prep

I've always been interested in reading about other writers' work habits, so I was delighted to see that Cheryl Klein had posted a review with Elizabeth C. Bunce, the author of CURSE AS DARK AS GOLD (which I loved) and STARCROSSED (ooo, must get this).

Elizabeth says that CURSE took three years of "painstaking craft and research" and then six months of revision after the sale. For another book, LIAR's MOON, she did a ton of plotting, outlining and prep before she wrote a single word...and then wrote a solid first draft in just over three months.

Here's Cheryl Klein's full interview with Elizabeth Bunce.


NaNoWriMo Song from Errol Elumir

A brilliant NaNoWriMo song by my friend Errol. From Errol:

I like to do an intro video for Nanowrimo. For 2010, I did a parody of the song Good Ol' A Capella because I was too lazy to write my own song.

You can learn more about Errol and his creative projects at:



Blog Highlight: Beyond The Margins

Beyond The Margins is a group blog for a group of writers who met, taught, and workshopped through Grub Street, a nonprofit creative writing center in Boston. "We have published novels, short fiction, poetry, newspaper and magazine articles, and our backgrounds and careers run the gamut from social work and medicine to journalism, law, graphic design, and metalwork."

Check out BTM for some great writing tips as well as insider publishing info.

We debunk the myths of freelance writing, deliver book reviews and interviews with authors and editors and agents, and take humorous looks at the craft, the industry and ourselves.

Today's post: To Blog Or Not To Blog: Authors Online (hey, and I'm mentioned in it! :-))

URL: http://beyondthemargins.com


Finding More Time To Write, Quickie Tip: Learn How To Say NO

Though I've gotten better over the years, I still struggle with this one word. Seems (at first, at least) much easier to say yes. I'm talking about the small favors that people ask you to do, the ones that you're sure will only take a few minutes of your time. The most insidious: the favors that you know would be fun to do, or the ones that are almost work-related.

Be wary of saying yes to too many of these. Inevitably, they'll add up until WHOA, suddenly you find yourself spending more time on these quickie favors for other people than you are on your own work.

Stay focused on your goals. Prioritize.

Learn how to say no politely but firmly without feeling guilty.

To clarify (because I'm already anticipating at least one person piping up and righteously saying that she's GLAD to want to say yes to those asking for help): I'm not saying you should ALWAYS say no...just be selective and be realistic. And be able to say no when you need to.