Visit Celebrate Picture Books to read about this fun book related to punctuation and writing! ~Becky
About the Holiday This week was established to raise awareness and promote literacy and the joys and benefits of reading. During the week, children’s authors and illustrators attend special events at schools, bookstores, libraries, and other community centers to share their books and get kids excited about reading. To learn more about how you can […]
The first Wednesday evening of each month finds me at the local library rearranging the tables for critique group. This gathering of writers and illustrators for children’s works has taken place for about 18 months, now, and has evolved a great deal during that time. Attendees come and go with their own particular needs, which is to be anticipated with this type of group, and a usual core of ‘regulars’ shows up on a dependable basis.
Members include those who are traditionally and self-published, in addition to those who are seeking their first publication, or who might just enjoy the process of writing. We share our works in progress, give voice to our successes and disappointments, offer praise and helpful advice, in addition to discussing common concerns related to our craft and industry.
I think that the biggest change I have seen during this time is the wide variety of creations that those attending bring in to read, show, and discuss. Yes, writers still share complete and partial picture books or chapter book texts. In addition, we’ve mulled over many a query letter and just had our first taste of a press release, as well. Illustrations now run the gamut from sketches to full-color renderings and include those to be used in picture books, magazine/newspaper stories, social media banners, and for pure inspiration!
Bottom line, there’s a great deal of “work” and communication that needs attention, beyond the specific written and/or illustrated products that we hope to publish. Within our ranks, we’re finding a supportive environment for ALL of those needs, and we’re each adding to or reinforcing our personal knowledge with every new encounter.
I can hardly wait to see what the second half of this year brings!
If YOU belong to a critique group, I would love to read comments about the types of works that are shared.
Just my small way of trying to counteract intolerance and racism. Please read this wonderful repost by Anne Lee Wissinger at Nerdy Book Club!
January 12, 2018
Dear Nerdy Book Club Friends,
Over the past week I have read some important books: The Truth As Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor, re-read Love by Matt de la Peña and Loren Long, re-read Martin Rising by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney, and Projekt 1065 by Alan Gratz.
The themes of these books wash over me and taunt me. Will you be as brave and courageous as these characters and the writers and artists who created them?
This morning it seems like some kind of cosmic call to action that such racist comments were made by the President on the eve of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. It is also my daughter’s golden birthday today, turning 12 on the 12th. She goes to her middle school 40 minutes early each day because she is afraid of the bullies who congregate at the…
View original post 492 more words
I’m very thankful for the two local critique groups that I attend and always leave feeling renewed and inspired. One is a well-established combination of writers from all different genres. I lead the second one, which is a newer compilation of writers and illustrators for children’s literature. Each group meets in person monthly, and occasional digital critique swaps are also requested and take place in between our gatherings. Since I’ve been taking part and observing for some time, now, several aspects for effectiveness have jumped out at me and motivated the following suggestions:
*When commenting in writing or orally, try to start out with a positive, follow with suggestions, and possibly end with another positive, as time allows (“sandwich” approach)
*Point out specific sections of the pieces for examples whenever possible, instead of speaking in generalities
*Keep in mind “nerves” and any misgivings you may have had when you first joined the group, upon greeting new attendees
*When receiving feedback, try to listen to a member’s full comments before responding with an explanation of your thinking or reasoning (this can be difficult to do!)
*Share your successes AND your disappointments, which can help to form connections between members
*Offer critiques on a continuing basis, even during those times when your own work is not being shared
Am I ALWAYS successful in remembering to do each of these things? I admit that I’m not, but these are my goals, since I can see how these strategies work so well when implemented. Feel free to add comments with ideas you’ve found to be especially helpful in your own groups!