#SummerSparks ends TODAY!

DON’T FORGET:

Summer Sparks#SummerSparks writing challenge will wrap up TONIGHT,July 11th, 2015, at 11:59 pm et. You still have time to complete the challenge.   🙂   You will need to make sure you have:

  1. Commented on all blog post that list a prize.
  2. Comment on Day 14 post by promising you have at least 14 sparks and leave your name.

Need to see a list of blog post? You can visit the Summer Sparks page. You’ll see all bloggers and their corresponding blog posts.

:::LEAVE A COMMENT:::
What other resources have you found with your librarians?
Do you know of another marketing tip you would like me to go in depth on?

* Don’t miss one post! Email sign-ups are over here —>
* Did you enjoy this post? Feel free to LIKE, SHARE, and COMMENT ON THIS POST.
Easy, peasy buttons found  below.
* Sign up for my  N E W S L E T T E R ! I will be sharing writing challenges and other
tidbits related to the kidlit industry. Click  ~HERE~  to be directed to my
Newsletter sign up page.
Shaping Up The Year book       RibbertsWayHome8x300[1]       LGHL-small       justthethingtobe8x300       ADT-8x150       Arachnabet

#SummerSparks ends tomorrow!

DON’T FORGET:

Summer Sparks#SummerSparks writing challenge will be wrapping up July 11th, 2015, at 11:59 pm et. You still have time to complete the challenge.   🙂   You will need to make sure you have:

  1. Commented on all blog post that list a prize.
  2. Comment on Day 14 post by promising you have at least 14 sparks and leave your name.

Need to see a list of blog post? You can visit the Summer Sparks page. You’ll see all bloggers and their corresponding blog posts.

 

* Don’t miss one post! Email sign-ups are over here —>
* Did you enjoy this post? Feel free to LIKE, SHARE, and COMMENT ON THIS POST.
Easy, peasy buttons found  below.
* Sign up for my  N E W S L E T T E R ! I will be sharing writing challenges and other
tidbits related to the kidlit industry. Click  ~HERE~  to be directed to my
Newsletter sign up page.
Shaping Up The Year book       RibbertsWayHome8x300[1]       LGHL-small       justthethingtobe8x300       ADT-8x150       Arachnabet

#SummerSparks Day 14 – Celebrate!

Summer Sparks Day 14

 

Celebrate!
by: Tracey M. Cox

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Yay! You did it!!!! Although I’m a little sad that #SummerSparks is coming to a close.  *sniff, sniff* But let’s not settle on the bad. Today is a day of celebration in America. A day we choose to celebrate our freedom.

cartoon-fireworks-mdSome people grill out. Some blast off fireworks. Some will visit monuments. Some will be surround by family and friends. Whatever you may be doing today. I hope you will take the time to reflect… on your writing, on your country, and of the freedoms we celebrate.MultiColored_Sparkle.svg.med

 *Sorry, Army Mom here  😉

I hope #SummerSparks lead to some wonderful ideas. Hopefully, those ideas will spark into amazing stories. Thank you for spending the last two weeks with me. Have a great Summer!

:::PLEDGE:::

Thank you once again for participating. Remember we are on the honor system. What need you to do is:

  1. COMMENT ON THIS POST. Let me know how many sparks you had.
  2. POST YOUR NAME WITHIN YOUR COMMENT. Some of us have different IDs and I want to make sure I have the right person.
  3. SOLEMNLY SWEAR. You need to have at least 14 sparks to be eligible  for prizes. I must stress though. 1 new idea is a winner in my book. You have gone through exercises and research during the past two weeks. That alone is building on your craft.

You will have until Saturday, July 11th, at 11:59 pm est to finish this challenge.
I give an extra week to allow for those who are traveling during our busy holiday schedules.

SPARK:

 

You didn’t think I would leave you without one last SPARK did you???

Write about a celebration? Or what you do on a certain holiday? Who is there? Are there any challenges? An event that takes place on that day?

About Tracey:

Tracey2

Tracey M. Cox has been writing professionally since 2000. She is traditionally published with six picture books out. This Summer, her 7th picture book, The Children at the Playground, will be published by Xist Publishing.
Tracey is the host of Summer Sparks author, platform building consultant, and offers a critique service. Read more about her at www.traceymcox.com.

LINKS:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Blog
PB Reviews

#GIVEAWAY 2# <—  Yes, #2!

Tracey will be giving away a one hour platform consult at the end of the challenge. COMMENT ON THIS POST to qualify for any give away. *you will need to comment on every give away post*.
TWEET – about this giveaway.
FACEBOOK – post about this giveaway too!!!

Click  —>  a Rafflecopter giveaway   <— to enter giveaway!

 

:::LEAVE A COMMENT:::
Don’t forget to do those THREE STEPS MENTIONED ABOVE!

 

* Don’t miss one post! Email sign-ups are over here —>
* Did you enjoy this post? Feel free to LIKE, SHARE, and COMMENT ON THIS POST.
Easy, peasy buttons found  below.
* Sign up for my  N E W S L E T T E R ! I will be sharing writing challenges and other
tidbits related to the kidlit industry. Click  ~HERE~  to be directed to my
Newsletter sign up page.
Shaping Up The Year book       RibbertsWayHome8x300[1]       LGHL-small       justthethingtobe8x300       ADT-8x150       Arachnabet

2015 Summer Sparks post:

  1. Family Celebration by Tracey M. Cox
  2. Back Where I Come From by Tracey M. Cox
  3. The Benefits of Playdough: Molding your PB Idea Into A Story by Donna L. Martin
  4. Go Jump In a Lake by Tracey M. Cox
  5. Take a Vacay! by Tracey M. Cox
  6. How to Rhyme Right in a Picture Book Manuscript by Nancy Raines Day
  7. Don’t You Know that You Are a Shooting Star? by Tracey M. Cox
  8. Sun Burst by Tracey M. Cox
  9. Writing Tips from the Big Bad Writer by Pat Miller
  10. Get Out! by Tracey M. Cox
  11. Pieces by Tracey M. Cox
  12. Make Your Non-Fiction Leap Off the Page! by Jennifer Swanson
  13. Do the Twist by Tracey M. Cox
  14. Celebrate! by Tracey M. Cox

#SummerSparks Day 13 – Do the Twist

Summer Sparks Day 13Do the Twist
by Tracey M. Cox

tire-track-road-mdBeing in a rut can be hard. You try to move forward, but your wheels keep on spinning. You get an occasional jerk, which builds a false hope. Only to settle back in and find yourself going no where.

So what to do? Why not put things in reverse and see if backing up can get you out of there and on your way again?

Sometimes seeing what has been done and out there can give us inspiration to move forward with a new idea. Don’t believe me? Lets take a look at two books that were twisted around for a different perspective:

 

The Three Little Pigs    twitsted into… The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs

The Three PigsWhy would a writer do this? Well both sides deserve to be heard, right? The True Story of the 3 PigsAfter all, thosepiggieswere well portrayed in the original version, AND there is always two sides to a story. The True Story shows us from the wolf’s perspective and may, just maybe, he isn’t so big and bad after all.

 Little Red Riding Hood   twisted into… Ninja Red Riding HoodNinja Red

Little Red Riding HoodWhy would a writer do this? What if Red decided to NOT to be a victim? She could take matters in her own hands and make sure she knew how to defend herself and Granny. This is an empowering message to the reader, regardless of gender.

Now these “WHAT IFs” suggestions are mine. I don’t know what each author was thinking, but I bet they did think…

“WHAT IF?”

 

SPARK:

Read an old favorite story of yours. Then give it a twist! WHAT IF the villain was misunderstood? WHAT IF something crucial didn’t happen? WHAT IF the mc is not what they appear to be?

About Tracey:

Tracey2

Tracey M. Cox has been writing professionally since 2000. She is traditionally published with six picture books out. This Summer, her 7th picture book, The Children at the Playground, will be published by Xist Publishing.
Tracey is the host of Summer Sparks author, platform building consultant, and offers a critique service. Read more about her at www.traceymcox.com.

LINKS:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Blog
PB Reviews

#GIVEAWAY 2# <—  Yes, #2!

Tracey will be giving away a one hour platform consult at the end of the challenge. COMMENT ON THIS POST to qualify for any give away. *you will need to comment on every give away post*.
TWEET – about this giveaway.
FACEBOOK – post about this giveaway too!!!

Click  —>  a Rafflecopter giveaway   <— to enter giveaway!

:::LEAVE A COMMENT:::
Let me know, are you participating in this years #SummerSparks writing challenge?
What story did you twist?
What other WHAT IF scenarios could spark a story?

* Don’t miss one post! Email sign-ups are over here —>
* Did you enjoy this post? Feel free to LIKE, SHARE, and COMMENT ON THIS POST.
Easy, peasy buttons found  below.
* Sign up for my  N E W S L E T T E R ! I will be sharing writing challenges and other
tidbits related to the kidlit industry. Click  ~HERE~  to be directed to my
Newsletter sign up page.
Shaping Up The Year book       RibbertsWayHome8x300[1]       LGHL-small       justthethingtobe8x300       ADT-8x150       Arachnabet

2015 Summer Sparks post:

  1. Family Celebration by Tracey M. Cox
  2. Back Where I Come From by Tracey M. Cox
  3. The Benefits of Playdough: Molding your PB Idea Into A Story by Donna L. Martin
  4. Go Jump In a Lake by Tracey M. Cox
  5. Take a Vacay! by Tracey M. Cox
  6. How to Rhyme Right in a Picture Book Manuscript by Nancy Raines Day
  7. Don’t You Know that You Are a Shooting Star? by Tracey M. Cox
  8. Sun Burst by Tracey M. Cox
  9. Writing Tips from the Big Bad Writer by Pat Miller
  10. Get Out! by Tracey M. Cox
  11. Pieces by Tracey M. Cox
  12. Make Your Non-Fiction Leap Off the Page! by Jennifer Swanson
  13. Do the Twist by Tracey M. Cox
  14. Celebrate! by Tracey M. Cox

#SummerSparks Day 12 – Make Your Non-Fiction Leap Off the Page! by Jennifer Swanson

Summer Sparks Day 12Make Your Nonfiction Leap Off the Page!
by: Jennifer Swanson

Nonfiction manuscripts are a hot commodity these days. Between Common Core and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), narrative nonfiction and STEM writing is in high demand. But how do you make your nonfiction piece exciting enough to grab an agent or editor’s attention? Make it leap-off-the- page exciting!

Try these steps to get things going.

1. Pick a topic you want to learn about

Ever wonder how satellites work? Investigate the NASA website for more information. Wonder how the Olympic Committee picks the site of the next Olympics? Do some research and find out. Something that peaks your curiosity is exciting and will motivate you to do research to find out more.

  • Checkthrough publisher catalogs to see what’s new and what’s coming out
  • Look at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and even the Library of Congress to check out new releases
  • Look for holes in publisher lists and target your submission to these holes.

2. Pick a unique angle

Discovering just the right angle can make your nonfiction writing come alive. Say your topic is the desert. What can you say about a desert? It’s hot. It has cactus. The animals sleep at night. Blah, blah.

Not so fast! Did you know that Antarctica is a desert? Well, do some research and find out. Taking a different approach to a topic can grab your reader’s attention and get them to keep reading.

  • Checkout series that publishers are doing and see if you can come up with one of your own
  • Or maybe you have a book idea that will fit one of their existing series.

3. Use active words

Short, active words paint vivid pictures in a reader’s mind are a great way to capture attention. Use words with energy to describe what is happening.

Here’s an example:

Rain is a form of precipitation. It is made when water in the atmosphere comes together in the form of a cloud. When the cloud gets big enough, it rains.  

Is that last piece exciting? Not really. Let’s try re-writing this:

Ever wonder how those fat, fluffy clouds turn into stormy rain clouds? Here’s how. High in the atmosphere, thousands of tiny water droplets condense and stick together to make a cloud. As other water droplets join in, the cloud grows and grows. Eventually, the cloud becomes very heavy–too heavy. It can’t hold all the water any more. Whoosh! The cloud bursts open thousands of water droplets race to the ground as rain. 

Which piece is more fun to read?

4. Have fun with it

Writing is fun! No matter what you write about, challenge yourself to make it exciting. Make your readers feel like they are actually tramping across the cold, barren, snowy Antarctic. Have them feel the icy wind as it slices across their cheeks and worms its way into their gloves. Let them experience the blinding sun as it reflects off the sharp, clear snow crystals. Putting them in the place they are reading about will make the story so interesting, they won’t even realize that they are learning.

  • Add details that include the 5 senses so the readers are drawn into your story
  • Make a list of words that are specific to your topic and sprinkle them throughout. For example, if your book has to do with boats, include lots of nautical language, “Ahoy matey”, “port”, “starboard”, amidships, etc. It spices up your language and also teaches your reader a bit in the process.
  • Explain everything thoroughly. The best way is to compare something to what a child may already know. For example, don’t say that something is 200 yards long, say it’s “as long as two football fields”. If you can put the image in their head, you will go a long way to helping them to understand it immediately.

SPARK  Take a paragraph or two from nonfiction textbook. Using these four steps, try to re-write the information. Use exciting, active words and paint vivid images for your reader. Does your piece sound better? Great! You are making non-fiction fun!

ABOUT JENNIFER:

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Jennifer Swanson dreams of one day running away to the Museum of Science and Industry-  then maybe she could look at all the exhibits and try out all the gadgets without competing for them with her kids. An author of twenty nonfiction science books for grades 3-6, Jennifer’s goal is to show kids that Science Rocks! She lives in sunny Florida with her husband, three kids and two dogs. When not writing she’s on the hunt for fun science facts. Learn more about Jennifer and her books at www.JenniferSwansonBooks.com.

LINKS:
Website

 

:::LEAVE A COMMENT:::
Let me know, are you participating in this years #SummerSparks writing challenge?
What types of non-fiction are you exploring today?

 

* Don’t miss one post! Email sign-ups are over here —>
* Did you enjoy this post? Feel free to LIKE, SHARE, and COMMENT ON THIS POST.
Easy, peasy buttons found  below.
* Sign up for my  N E W S L E T T E R ! I will be sharing writing challenges and other
tidbits related to the kidlit industry. Click  ~HERE~  to be directed to my
Newsletter sign up page.
Shaping Up The Year book       RibbertsWayHome8x300[1]       LGHL-small       justthethingtobe8x300       ADT-8x150       Arachnabet

2015 Summer Sparks post:

  1. Family Celebration by Tracey M. Cox
  2. Back Where I Come From by Tracey M. Cox
  3. The Benefits of Playdough: Molding your PB Idea Into A Story by Donna L. Martin
  4. Go Jump In a Lake by Tracey M. Cox
  5. Take a Vacay! by Tracey M. Cox
  6. How to Rhyme Right in a Picture Book Manuscript by Nancy Raines Day
  7. Don’t You Know that You Are a Shooting Star? by Tracey M. Cox
  8. Sun Burst by Tracey M. Cox
  9. Writing Tips from the Big Bad Writer by Pat Miller
  10. Get Out! by Tracey M. Cox
  11. Pieces by Tracey M. Cox
  12. Make Your Non-Fiction Leap Off the Page! by Jennifer Swanson
  13. Do the Twist by Tracey M. Cox
  14. Celebrate! by Tracey M. Cox

#SummerSparks Day 11 – Pieces

Summer Sparks Day 11

Pieces
by Tracey M. Cox

Jigsaw_Puzzle.svg.medDo you like putting together puzzles? I do. You start with a bajillion pieces, all scattered before you. Then, before you know it, you notice some of them are similar. Maybe one side is flat. These pieces, the colors all match. Or this group can make a face. So you begin to group them together. The pieces neatly fit here and there. Over there and over there. Look at that piece. It can go over with the first group.

Well we do the same thing as writers. We come up with a great idea. We are excited as we dump it out before us, but with this one idea things can get jumbled. So we…

1. Come up with a character. Every story has a character. So what makes yours special? Do they have super abilities? Are they fearless? Maybe a wild imagination. You can also determine fears. Name your character and have a conversation with them. Find out their likes and dislikes. Do they have certain mannerisms that spill over in how they react with people? Coming up with you main character can be as complicated as you want. They can be a boy or a girl, an animal or an alien, or something combined. Nailing down your character will help your story come together.

Jigsaw_puzzle_piece.svg.med

2. We need a setting! Where does this story take place? You can have it take place in a back yard. Maybe it’s on a farm where there are emus. Or you can be in the city and have the noise and hub-bub of the city racing by. Or you can be in the park and have a picnic or be there for a Little League game. OR you can be in outer space blasting around, searching for aliens. Maybe your character is the alien and you are exploring Earth and trying to figure out Earthlings. The main thing is every story needs to take place somewhere. Make sure your readers will be able to visualize where you are seeing.

jigsaw_red_16.svg.med3. Challenge, every story has challenges. Ahh. The problem. The DREADED problem. So what does you character have to over come? A new sibling? Trying to get rid of a dragon! Maybe there is something they fear, like heights or talking in front of people. What if there is a bully who makes fun of them. Problems are like our characters. They come in all shapes and sizes, but they challenge our characters and make them grow in a way that will leave the reader rooting for them and want to read your book again and again.

jigsaw_green_05.svg.med4. Backstory. Let’s not forget the juicy details. Some of this information won’t every appear in your story. BUT knowing the backstory of your character and their challenges, along with the setting in which it takes place can be very important to how you character will react. Does you child have a family? What about brothers or sisters? Do they really love a certain food and HAVE to have it with every meal? What about clothes… how do they dress? What do they like to wear. Most things don’t make the final edit, but for me make it easier to write my story when I know the details.

Now you may sort and piece together you story differently, and that’s okay. There is no formula on piecing together a great story. Mix it up see what catches you eye. Before you know it all those patterns and colors will come together and make a great story.

pattern-puzzle-jigsaw-1.svg.med

 

SPARK:

So lets create some pieces. Grab a piece of paper and fold it into thirds long ways. Your first column will be character. Your second column will be setting. Your third problem will be challenge.

Go down each column and write ideas down for each. For character you may come up with: clown, fish, bat, boy, girl, dog, cupcake, car. For setting you may come up with: city, farm, table, school, pond, city pool. For challenge you may come up with: bully, heights, waiting, missing, water, disease, broken. You can use my ideas and expand on them, if you like. Now cut them up into individual pieces. In separate piles, gather together each ‘piece’ of your story. Give a good mix and randomly pick out a piece from each pile. No matter how crazy or odd the combination may be, come up with an idea.

Repeat for new ideas! These pieces, unlike a normal puzzle, are inner changeable.   🙂

About Tracey:

Tracey2

Tracey M. Cox has been writing professionally since 2000. She is traditionally published with six picture books out. This Summer, her 7th picture book, The Children at the Playground, will be published by Xist Publishing.
Tracey is the host of Summer Sparks author, platform building consultant, and offers a critique service. Read more about her at www.traceymcox.com.

LINKS:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Blog
PB Reviews

#GIVEAWAY 2# <—  Yes, #2!

Tracey will be giving away a one hour platform consult at the end of the challenge. COMMENT ON THIS POST to qualify for any give away. *you will need to comment on every give away post*.
TWEET – about this giveaway.
FACEBOOK – post about this giveaway too!!!

Click  —>  a Rafflecopter giveaway   <— to enter giveaway!

 

:::LEAVE A COMMENT:::
Let me know, are you participating in this years #SummerSparks writing challenge?
How did your puzzle making go?

 

* Don’t miss one post! Email sign-ups are over here —>
* Did you enjoy this post? Feel free to LIKE, SHARE, and COMMENT ON THIS POST.
Easy, peasy buttons found  below.
* Sign up for my  N E W S L E T T E R ! I will be sharing writing challenges and other
tidbits related to the kidlit industry. Click  ~HERE~  to be directed to my
Newsletter sign up page.
Shaping Up The Year book       RibbertsWayHome8x300[1]       LGHL-small       justthethingtobe8x300       ADT-8x150       Arachnabet

2015 Summer Sparks post:

  1. Family Celebration by Tracey M. Cox
  2. Back Where I Come From by Tracey M. Cox
  3. The Benefits of Playdough: Molding your PB Idea Into A Story by Donna L. Martin
  4. Go Jump In a Lake by Tracey M. Cox
  5. Take a Vacay! by Tracey M. Cox
  6. How to Rhyme Right in a Picture Book Manuscript by Nancy Raines Day
  7. Don’t You Know that You Are a Shooting Star? by Tracey M. Cox
  8. Sun Burst by Tracey M. Cox
  9. Writing Tips from the Big Bad Writer by Pat Miller
  10. Get Out! by Tracey M. Cox
  11. Pieces by Tracey M. Cox
  12. Make Your Non-Fiction Leap Off the Page! by Jennifer Swanson
  13. Do the Twist by Tracey M. Cox
  14. Celebrate! by Tracey M. Cox

#SummerSparks Day 8 – Sun Burst

Summer Sparks Day 8Sun Burst
by: Tracey M. Cox

Oh Myyyy! We are into our second-half of #SummerSparks already!!! I can’t believe it. I hope your ideas have been sparking and maybe a few have been on fi-ahhh!

For the last part of the challenge, my post will be about different techniques I use to help me come up with different ideas.

Sun burst is a great way to come up with random ideas. They are also called cloud bunch or branching out. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. In the middle of the page write a random word
  2. Around that word, write words that associate with the 1st word.
  3. Around those words, write words which associate with them.
  4. And so on and so forth

Try not to think about it. Go as fast as you can. By doing this, you will begin to see one of more words get a lot of association. Now how can you incorporate this into a story? The great thing about this exercise, is that what you write about may or may not have anything to do with your original idea.

SPARK:

Get a piece of paper. In the center write the word : banana 
Now, see where it will lead you.  🙂

About Tracey:

Tracey2

Tracey M. Cox has been writing professionally since 2000. She is traditionally published with six picture book out. This Summer, her 7th picture book, The Children at the Playground, will be published by Xist Publishing.
Tracey is the host of Summer Sparks author, platform building consultant, and offers a critique service. Read more about her at www.traceymcox.com.

LINKS:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Blog
PB Reviews

#GIVEAWAY 2# <—  Yes, #2!

Tracey will be giving away a one hour platform consult at the end of the challenge. COMMENT ON THIS POST to qualify for any give away. *you will need to comment on every give away post*.
TWEET – about this giveaway.
FACEBOOK – post about this giveaway too!!!

Click  —>  a Rafflecopter giveaway   <— to enter giveaway!

 

:::LEAVE A COMMENT:::
Let me know, are you participating in this years #SummerSparks writing challenge?
Where did your Sun Burst exercise lead you?

* Don’t miss one post! Email sign-ups are over here —>
* Did you enjoy this post? Feel free to LIKE, SHARE, and COMMENT ON THIS POST.
Easy, peasy buttons found  below.
* Sign up for my  N E W S L E T T E R ! I will be sharing writing challenges and other
tidbits related to the kidlit industry. Click  ~HERE~  to be directed to my
Newsletter sign up page.
Shaping Up The Year book       RibbertsWayHome8x300[1]       LGHL-small       justthethingtobe8x300       ADT-8x150       Arachnabet

2015 Summer Sparks post:

  1. Family Celebration by Tracey M. Cox
  2. Back Where I Come From by Tracey M. Cox
  3. The Benefits of Playdough: Molding your PB Idea Into A Story by Donna L. Martin
  4. Go Jump In a Lake by Tracey M. Cox
  5. Take a Vacay! by Tracey M. Cox
  6. How to Rhyme Right in a Picture Book Manuscript by Nancy Raines Day
  7. Don’t You Know that You Are a Shooting Star? by Tracey M. Cox
  8. Sun Burst by Tracey M. Cox
  9. Writing Tips from the Big Bad Writer by Pat Miller
  10. Get Out! by Tracey M. Cox
  11. Pieces by Tracey M. Cox
  12. Make Your Non-Fiction Leap Off the Page! by Jennifer Swanson
  13. Do the Twist by Tracey M. Cox
  14. Celebrate! by Tracey M. Cox