Storystorm 2020 Day 6: Ashley Franklin Takes Inspiration from Rejection

Some great advice here. I’m off to revisit old manuscripts. Are there any in your drawer?

Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

by Ashley Franklin

Rejection is an unavoidable part of a writer’s life. In fact, the more diligently we pursue our writing dreams, the more we increase our chances of being rejected. (Hey, I don’t make the rules.)

Receiving a “no” from your dream agent or editor stings. I want to tell you that it gets easier with time, but I ravenously ate a chocolate bar after receiving a couple of rejections just a few months ago. Once that passed, I had to do something that was actually useful. I took a break. It doesn’t help to think about a rejection while still emotional about it.

What I did next is something that helps me to think of a “no” as a necessary pitstop towards my final destination of a “yes”. Instead of feeling defeated from a “no”, I started looking to it for inspiration to make my manuscript even better.

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Storystorm 2020 Day 2: Shutta Crum’s Two Faces of Intention

Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

by Shutta Crum

Intention: that’s an important word—especially now as we celebrate the month of Janus (the god of beginnings) and when we make our resolutions, or we begin Storystorm month. But, like Janus, intention is a two-faced concept. It makes all the difference in the world—and, ultimately, none. Let me explain . . .

It’s a necessary word when I ask myself, what do I intend to get accomplished today—in addition to my picture book idea for Storystorm? When I write, intention is critical. Crafting characters, I need to know what each one’s intentions are so I can intertwine them and build the overall structure of the story, scene by scene. But how do you get a grasp on fictional character intentions? Well . . . first, you start off simply assigning what seems like the obvious intention for that character based on the his/her background and a…

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New Lives in Familiar Waters: Releasing Razorback Chubs at James M. Robb Fruita State Park

Getting ready for a morning walk last week, I reached for my camera. Changed my mind. Same old route. I already had too many shots of the river, lakes, and cliffs.


Okay, you’re ahead of me.

As usual, my husband and I drove out  James M. Robb Colorado River State Park. We headed to the boat launch ramp. It’s fun to watch rafters inflate their craft, then load them with coolers, tents, kids, and dogs for a canyon float down to Loma or farther to Westwater, Utah.

Today there were no rafters. Instead, as we watched, a white truck carrying a rectangular tank backed toward the murky water. One of three men in wildlife management uniforms attached a large pipe to the back of the tank.


“Are they putting fish into the RIVER?” That was my husband saying aloud what I was thinking. We’d seen similar crews stock lakes before, never the Colorado River. It didn’t seem to make sense.


That was just what the guys were doing though. In no time, a stream of fish-speckled water arched out the tank into the river.


Through a shouted conversation, I learned this was a restoration effort. The fish were razorback chubs (suckers). Native to the Colorado, these once-common critters measure up to three feet long. They can live for decades.


This batch had been raised at a hatchery near Horsethief Canyon on the other side of the river. The “little guys” were about a year and a half old. Though several studies are underway to find out how many chubs make it to adulthood, nobody’s sure yet.

Luckily, my husband had his camera. I learned a lesson. Nothing is common or usual. You never know what you’ll see.

For us, it was a batch of now-rare native fish starting new lives in familiar waters.

(Photos by Alden A. Armstrong copyright September 23, 2019,  Used by permission.)


July 2017 Contest Roundup — Sub It Club

It’s summer, at least in my neck of the woods. Summer is always so busy it seems. My kids are all home (and two of them have full-time summer jobs!) The Summer Reading Program is in full swing at the library where I work and there are tons of programs happening which I get to participate […]

via July 2017 Contest Roundup — Sub It Club

The Pig Poet: David Lee and his Poetry

I met Mr. Lee at a Desert Writers Workshop held at the Pack Creek Ranch in Moab, Utah. His seminar was amazing, and I gave him one of my paintings (an early primitive figurative, of cyclists, I think).  If you get a chance to hear one of his readings, don’t miss it.

Source: The Pig Poet: David Lee and his Poetry

Gender in Picture Books

Gender in Picture Books

When we write, we influence people, especially when the writing is fiction and readers are looking for entertainment, not attitudes or other subjective content. This is especially true with children. As writers, we have to consider the subtle cultural messages we are reinforcing with our tales. We have unusual opportunities and it is our responsibility to at least think about what we are saying. Sometimes when we do, we don’t even agree with ourselves!

How to Structure a Picture Book

How to Structure a Picture Book

Even if you have not signed up for Julie Hedlund’s fantastic 12 x 12 (Twelve picture book manuscripts in twelve months) program, you can benefit from her line-up of featured authors, editors, and agents. First up this year, author and consultant Emma Walton Hamilton offers a super mini-course in picture book construction. If you have a manuscript, or just an idea, take a few minutes to read it. You won’t be sorry.

An Agent Critiques First Pages

An Agent Critiques First Pages

You only have a few paragraphs to capture a reader, whether a buyer on a site or in a bookstore, or a publishing professional. In this great post from Kathy Temean, agent  Sean McCarthy critiques first page submissions from three different children’s book authors.

Editing Manuscripts to Make Them Sing

Editing Manuscripts to Make Them Sing

Ready to edit your books from NaNoWriMo or just one you’ve had in a drawer for a while? Here are some terrific ideas from The Write Practice blog.

The Magic of Three in Storytelling

The Magic of Three in Storytelling

If you write picture books, this quick post by Tara Lazar will help you sharpen your next manuscript. It examines the role of the number three. There is a reason that there aren’t five little pigs or four bears.