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 archives, 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


Daily NaNoWriMo comics!

As I mentioned before, when Errol Elumir & I discovered that the official NaNoWriMo site was only posting our comics on a weekly basis rather than daily (which is fine, except we wish we could have known earlier :-)), we scrambled to find a way to provide comics on a daily basis.

So check out the Toronto NaNoWriMo site to find daily NaNoWriMo comics!


Cartoon Caption Contest for writers -- with prizes!

I've posted a cartoon caption contest over on Writer Unboxed.

Apologies for the lack of posts in the past week. I'm at a boardgaming convention in Texas right now (for fun AND work -- I'm writing a boardgaming book) and will be heading back home today.


NaNoToon archives: "You First"


More Nanotoons from the archives


Jane Austen's Fight Club

Too funny. :-) Thanks to Jeff for pointing this out.


Nanotoon comics from the archives

Looks like the NaNoWriMo blog is posting the comics that Errol and I created once a week instead of daily, so we'll be creating just two more comics for the NaNoWriMo site.

To satisfy those looking for daily NaNotoons, however, I'll be posting some comics from the archives as well as (possibly) creating some new ones to post here. :-)


Interview: Robert Lee Brewer & the Poem-A-Day (PAD) Chapbook Challenge

One of the creative challenges I've decided to take this month is Robert Lee Brewer's November PAD Chapbook Challenge, in which participants write a poem each day, based on a prompt. "During the month of November, don't worry so much about finished drafts; just get the rough drafts cranked out each day. After all, you've got December (and the rest of your life, for that matter) to edit.

It's been fun posting as well as reading other people's poems. Robert was kind enough to take some time out of poetry writing to answer a few questions...

What gave you the idea to start the PAD Challenges? (& how many have you had so far?)
We’re currently in the third annual November PAD Chapbook Challenge. Earlier this year, we finished the third annual April PAD Challenge. That’s where all the prompts and challenges started. I’m always trying to think of ways to help other poets—and inspiring them to write is just one way to do that. So I started offering a prompt a day (and two on Tuesdays) in April of 2008. That first challenge was so successful I started doing Wednesday Poetry Prompts each week. As we neared NaNoWriMo month in 2008, I started thinking that it would be neat to give poets a slightly different challenge while fiction writers work on their novels—so I challenged them to write a poem a day in the hopes of getting a 10-20 page chapbook together.
You must be so pleased with the response you've had! Every time I check in, SO many poets have posted! How have you found the experience so far?
I remember telling my wife (who I was dating at the time) that I wouldn’t be surprised if nobody participates that first year. Boy was I surprised when more than 100 poets jumped in the first day! And it’s only increased in popularity since. I’m the type of person who always hopes for success but expects failure. So I’m almost always pleasantly surprised by any type of success. The best part is that over time I’ve heard from many current and past PAD participants who have placed their PAD poems with various publications and even published whole collections. Plus, it’s amazing to hear that these challenges have either sparked an interest in poetry or brought poets back to their poeming ways!
What advice do you have for aspiring poets?
Read contemporary poets. Local poets if possible. Find them at literary festivals, open mics, readings, online, or wherever possible. Read online journals. Read anthologies and literary journals (at the library or bookstore). Of course, you must write too, but I find that the more poetry I read the better I feel about my own voice. Outside of that, read your poems aloud or have a friend do so for you. This really helps you figure out obvious flaws in the rhythm of your words.

What are your current/upcoming projects?
I currently have the November PAD Chapbook Challenge, the WD Poetic Form Challenge: Rondeau, and a challenge to create a new poetic form. In addition to poet interviews, craft advice and publishing tips, I’m usually trying to offer prompts and challenges for poets. At the moment, I’m also figuring out my plans for the 2012 editions of Poet’s Market and Writer’s Market. Plus, I’ve been submitting both individual poems and a few chapbook submissions of my own.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
If anyone wants to tweet poetic on Twitter, there are a few different hashtags available to poets. On Tuesdays, they can use #poettues. Throughout the week, poets use #poettalk to share links, poems and poetic quips. @32poems hosts a #poetparty every Sunday evening from 9-10 p.m. ET. And, #novpad is the hashtag of choice for poets who are pushing through the November PAD Chapbook Challenge. Outside of that, thank you so much for the interview. It was fun!


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. :-)