Honing My Craft

man hand holding card with the text i can't, cutting the word t so it written i can. success and challenge concept. retro style image

Over the years I’ve taken many classes on writing and even though I’ve been published before, I feel like there’s always an opportunity to learn more. Maybe a different perspective or technique will be revealed that will enhance my current work-in-progress (and there’s always one or two of those!)

Yesterday I took my first Writers’ Digest online class, How to Write a Picture Book That Sells, taught by experienced literary agent Jennifer De Chiara. You’re probably familiar with Writer’s Digest for their resources for writers whether it be their magazine, blogs, contests, or books.

Although much of the material presented in the seminar was a review for me, Jennifer said something that inspired me to work on my manuscript until well after midnight. She challenged us to cut unnecessary words as long as it didn’t hurt the essence of our story. Knowing the trend is toward shorter picture book texts, I went to work and trimmed 12.5 percent from my word count and feel excited by the end result.

I also enjoyed the way the class was presented. It was easy to connect by simply clicking the link sent to me via email after I registered. I chose the option for audio through my phone by calling a number and punching in an access code. For those hesitant about taking a class online, the steps to connect were clear and easy to follow.

One bonus of this class is that participants receive a manuscript critique by Jennifer. I’m glad I waited to submit so I could incorporate what I learned into the manuscript.

You may have missed this Writers’ Digest class, but Kid Lit Universe has a free opportunity for you to learn more about picture books next week. Author/Illustrator Denise Ortakales will give a talk on Wednesday, June 8th at 10 a.m. at the Portsmouth Public Library, 175 Parrott Avenue, Portsmouth, NH. She’ll be interacting with the audience, so come with your questions!

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