Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Strengthening Writing with Power Verbs: Letters H-R

          Four weeks ago, I shared some strong action verbs which create action voice, showing. Where do we find those power verbs? I covered the first part of the 195 verbs last issue: A - G . This issue, I will add action verbs beginning with letters H – R. Use these verbs wisely, though. Writing still needs clarity and coherence; verbs need to "fit" the meaning of the clause.





Strengthening Writing with Power Verbs: Letters H-R



         We want our readers to be drawn into and enveloped by our short story or novel, by anything we write. Boredom loses their attention quickly. Showing, using active voice, creates reading excitement. To avoid passive voice and to have active voice, writers use power verbs. To help know some power verbs, I discovered a list, author unknown, and added to it. Now, I will share the list I have to date, from H through R this article.

         Let's begin this part of the power verbs with some verbs beginning with the letter H:
• Hail
• Head
• Hem
• Heighten
• Hike
• Hit
• Hum
• Hurry
An example of using such verbs to show rather than tell would be to use the verb heighten, when the verb “fits”: The burglar heightened the sensitivity of his touch by rubbing sandpaper over his fingertips.

         Next, let’s look at a few verbs that begin with the letter I:
• Ignite
• Illuminate
• Inspect
• Instruct
• Intensify
• Intertwine
• Impart
An example of using an I verb is as follows: Violent riots ignite a tumult of damaged stores and vehicles.

         Next, we will look at J verbs:
• Jab
• Jam
• Jar
• Jig
• Jot
• Journey
• Jut
Rather than using an verb such as stick out or stuck out, use a more powerful verb. The ledge jutted over the canyon.

         Since I don’t have any strong verbs beginning with the letter K, we will go to the letter L:
• Lag
• Lap
• Lash
• Lead
• Leap
• Lob
• Locate
• Log
Let’s look at a sentence that have a powerful L verb in place of the verb list: The pupil logged all the exercises the teacher assigned.

         Next come strong verbs beginning with M:
• Magnify
• Moan
• Modify
• Multiply
• Mushroom
• Mystify
Now for an example: The combinations of numbers and letters in high level math problems mystify me.

         Some strong verbs start with the letter N:
• Nab
• Nag
• Nip
• Nod
• Notice
• Notify
The verb grab is often overused, so we can use nab in some sentences and add variety and more power in active voice: The police nabbed the criminals as they exited the bank.

         Next, we will look at verbs beginning with O:
• Obtain
• Offer
• Oppress
• Order
• Outlay
Get, another overused verb, can be replaced with “offer” sometimes: May I offer you a cold drink?

         Powerful “P” verbs include the following:
• Paint
• Park
• Peck
• Peek
• Peer
• Perceive
• Picture
• Pilot
• Pinpoint
• Place
• Plant
• Plop
• Poison
• Pop
• Position
• Power
• Prickle
• Probe
• Prime
Example: Rather than use see, we could use peek or peer, depending on what we want to convey: I peeked through the slit in the door; I peered at the fish swimming in circles.

         Our final list of verbs this issue is of those which begin with R:
• Realize
• Recite
• Recoil
• Refashion
• Refine
• Remove
• Report
• Retreat
• Reveal
• Revolutionize
• Revolve
• Rip
• Rise
• Ruin
• Rush
Example: Rather than use the verb know, we could use realize. I realized I didn’t understand what the teacher meant.

         I keep the full list handy when I write because the thesaurus found with MS Word often doesn't have the best list of synonyms, and it doesn't have any suggestions if I can't express what I need in one word. I will add power verbs from the final letters in four weeks.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

My 4RV Favorites

When searching for a publisher for your work, it's important to get to know them; see what they publish, read some of their books, figure out how your work might fit. I followed 4RV Publishing for years before I sent them my manuscript that became A Christmas Kindness. This gave me a chance to review several of  their titles. Here are a few of my favorites.


Eighth grade starts out the same as every other year for Breeze Brannigan. Then she meets Cam, the new boy in school whospeaks with an accent and must be from another planet, for none of the earthling boys she knows are so polite. He also has a secret, a secret that could mean life or death for Cam and his mother and that Breeze must help him keep.


For months, Breeze Brannigan has heard nothing from Cam, the prince she met at school and who disappeared one night without telling her goodbye. The night she graduates from middle school, however, he contacts her and invites her to visit Isla del Fuego, his home. Who could refuse such an invitation?

Breeze, along with her whole family and best friends, Amy and Allison, soon sail to the island, where she and Cam renew their friendship. But, danger lurks; a legend comes to life; and Breeze finds herself in the middle of a battle that can have only one winner.


Which has the better chance of helping, a wish or a prayer?


Joseph and his wife, Mary, expect a baby. With all that is happening, including the government requiring a census, Joseph feels a little overwhelmed and a bit left out of the preparations for the baby. Is there something he can do?



Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of Little Shepherd, A Christmas Kindness, Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving and the recently released, Amos Faces His Bully. A blogger and book reviewer, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married. Visit Cheryl online at http://ccmalandrinos.com and her children’s book blog at https://childrensandteensbookconnection.wordpress.com

Monday, July 9, 2018

New Release - Why Does That Star Follow Me?


     4RV Publishing released a new children's book Why Does That Star Follow Me? written by Wayne Harris-Wyrick and illustrated by Andrea Grey.

      Many stars brighten the sky at night, so does every person have one? One child finds his own
stellar companion that follows him everywhere. Thus, a story is born.


     After 40 years as the director and staff of a planetarium, Wayne Harris-Wyrick retired to become a full-time children’s book author, and later joined the staff of 4RV Publishing as the Non-Fiction and Tweens and Teens Imprints editor.

     Wayne has been writing a monthly astronomy column for the Oklahoman since 1984, and has published a dozen astronomy and science fiction articles or short stories in various national publications. Wayne uses his astronomy and science background in his children's books, several which have been released by 4RV.

     Andrea Gray grew up sketching and painting and later earned a graphic design degree at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. She draws inspiration from other cultures, music, and folklore. When she’s not illustrating, Andrea can be found behind a camera lens or finding tranquility in the Oklahoma wilderness.  Andrea lives in Broken Arrow with her loving husband Brandon, son Benjamin, and two dogs.

     Why Does That Star Follow Me? is the first book she has so far
illustrated for 4RV. But, hopefully, it won't be the last.

      
    This children's book can be found and purchased from the 4RV Online Bookstore, through brink and mortar stores, and other online stores.



Sunday, July 1, 2018

Point of View and Children’s Storytelling

By Karen Cioffi

Point-of-view (POV) is the narrator's view of what's going on. The POV is who's telling the story. This will determine what the reader 'hears' and 'sees' in regard to the story. And, it determines the ‘personal pronouns’ that will be used.

Having this element of the story consistent throughout is essential.

There are three main POVs in young children’s storytelling: first person, second person, and third person (limited). And, in each of these POVs, the protagonist (main character) must be in each scene – the story is told through his five-senses. If he doesn’t see, hear, smell, taste, or touch it, it doesn’t exist in the story.

1. First person.

This POV has the protagonist personally telling the story. Pronouns, such as “I,” “my,” “me,” “I’m,” are used.

Example from “Because of Winn-Dixie:”

That summer I found Winn-Dixie was also the summer me and the preacher moved to Naomi, Florida, so he could be the new preacher . . .  (The protagonist, Opal, is talking to the reader – italics are mine for clarity.)

Notice the above isn’t in quotation marks for dialog. Dialog would be used if the protagonist talks to another character in the story or another character talks. See examples below:

“But you know what?” I told Winn-Dixie. (Opal is talking to her dog.)

“Well, I don’t know,” said Miss Franny. “Dogs are not allowed in the Herman W. Block Memorial Library.” (The librarian in the story is talking to Opal.)

Children’s books in first person POV:

“Because of Winn-Dixie (Kate DiCamillo)
“Green Eggs and Ham” (Dr. Suess)
“The Polar Express” (Chris Van Allsburg)
“Fly Away Home” (Eve Bunting)

2. Second person.

This POV uses “you” as the pronoun, referring to the reader and isn’t used that often in young children’s writing. But, there are some authors who pull it off very well.

An example of this POV from “How to Babysit Grandpa:”

Babysitting a grandpa is fun. If you know how. (The protagonist is talking to the reader, involving him. Italics are mine.)

Children’s books in second person POV:

"How to Babysit Grandpa" (Jean Reagan)
"Secret Pizza Party" (Adam Rubin)
"The Book That Eats People" (John Perry)

3. Third person (limited).

This POV is probably the most popular in young children’s writing. Pronouns, such as “he,” “she,” “its,” “they,” and “their” are used.

While this is similar to the other two POVs, in that they’re all told from the protagonist’s point-of-view, in third party, the narrator, is telling the story. He’s privy to all the senses and emotions of the protagonist.

Here’s an example from “Walking Through Walls:”

"You will practice by walking through this brick wall. You must repeat the magic formula over and over as you go through it.”

Wang looked at the wall. He tightened his fists, clenched his jaw, and wrinkled his forehead. This is sure to hurt.

“Uh,” he paused, “Master, what will happen if I do say the words to the magic formula out loud?”

“Wang, you are trying to delay your task. It is a good question though. Your tongue will cease its movement if you speak the words to the formula.”

Wang's eyes opened wide and he flung his hands on top of his head. Never to talk again! I am sorry I asked for the formula. What if I slip?

The narrator is telling the reader what’s going on. Again, he’s privy to the protagonist’s thoughts, senses, and feelings.

Children’s books in third person POV:

“Walking Through Walls” (Karen Cioffi)
"Owen" (Kevin Henkes)
"Tops and Bottoms" (Janet Stevens)
“Stephanie’s Ponytail” (Robert Munsch)

Be consistent.


When writing for young children, it’s the author’s job to make sure the story is engaging and CLEAR (easy to understand). One quick way to lose the reader is to mix and match point-of-views within the story. Even if you slip just once, you may very well throw the reader off.

One easy error is to slip in a second person POV within a third person story. How this might happen:

The third-party narrator is explaining what the protagonist did then throws in something like, Can you believe it?

That one little sentence has switched POVs and can cause confusion.

Remember to choose one POV and stick with it throughout your story.

There you have it, the three main points-of-view in young children’s storytelling. Which do you prefer?

Sources:

http://literarydevices.net/point-of-view/
http://www.childrensbookacademy.com/mondays-with-mandy-or-mira/second-person-point-of-view-in-picture-books

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author, successful children’s ghostwriter, and author online platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing. For must-know writing and marketing tips, get free access to The Writing World.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

A FAMILY FOR LEONA, by Beverly Stowe McClure (@beverlymcclure) & 4RV Publishing (@4RV), has won 1st place in the 2018 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards Historical Fiction category!

Published by and available at 4RV Publishing
Some very exciting news came my way a few days ago from one of my favorite authors. A Family for Leona, by Beverly Stowe McClure (published by 4RV Publishing), has taken FIRST PLACE in the 2018 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards under the Historical Fiction category. And guess who created the cover art? Yep: yours truly. 😀 Isn't that awesome?

The contest is sponsored by Story Monsters LLC, which is home to the award-winning Story Monsters Ink® magazine, the literary resource for teachers, librarians, and parents — selected by School Library Journal as one of the best magazines for kids and teens.

They also help authors of all genres strive for excellence through their marketing and publicity services, Dragonfly Book Awards contests, Story Monsters Approved! awards program, and opportunities to connect with schools and the media.

Not sure where I can fit another award seal, lol, but there's no reason I can't show it here. (The gold seal you see on the cover right now is 2017's Children's Literary Classics Award -- Their top honor.)







Blurb:

Ten-year-old Leona Chapter doesn’t understand why her papa left his six children at the Brooklyn Home for Homeless Children after their mother’s death in 1921. Each day she prays he’ll return and take his children home. God, however, isn’t listening. Her brothers and sisters are either adopted or run away, leaving only Leona and Baby Mildred in the orphanage. Leona promises she and Mildred will be together for always. A promise she cannot keep, for Leona, along with her friend Noah, who she defends from the bullies Hiram and Jehu, and several other orphans, are soon on a train headed to Texas, while her sister stays at the orphanage. Leona vows she’ll go back to Brooklyn, the first chance she gets.


Be sure to check out these other great books from Beverly and 4RV Publishing





Onto wrapping up the next book 😁
Until next time ...
Aidana WillowRaven
Art Director and AP of Operations at 4RV Publishing
http://WillowRaven.weebly.com

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Finding Inspiration in Everyday Life



William Faulkner once said, “I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired at 9 o'clock every morning.” Gosh, I wish it were that simple for me. Honestly, I don't believe writers wait to be inspired before they write. The challenge might be more that they ignore the everyday happenings in their busy lives that can inspire their writing.

Imagine this..

A young mother at the end of a hectic day has at least one more chore to do before she can plop into bed for some much needed rest. It's bedtime for her little girl; the one who wants to be sung to sleep every night. Weary, the woman trudges upstairs for their bedtime routine: go potty, change into pajamas, brush teeth, read story and say prayers. Along the way, the little girl has asked about going to the zoo soon, shared every single thing that happened at preschool that day, and asked for a drink of water.

Finally, it's time for bed. The woman stifles a yawn and plunks into the rocking chair beside her daughter's bed. She hoists the little girl with the binky planted between her pouting lips and a pink blanket in tow onto her lap, and settles into that one special position that is comfortable for both of them. Then she begins to rock and sing. She sings of frogs going courting and tiny little Thumbelina. The woman sings songs her mother wrote when she was just a little girl. She rocks and sings until her legs ache and her throat is horse, yet, the little girl's eyes are still peering up at her pleading for more. Now what will she sing? She's gone through every nursery rhyme and childhood song she can think of.  The woman's mind wanders to Christmas, which is still months away. She knows decorating, baking for the neighbors, and the sending of cards will be added to her overloaded schedule. But then, she remembers the music. The wonderful hymns of peace, love, and joy that fill the season. So she pushes her feet against the floor once more and, as the rocker goes back and forth, she sings of stars at night and the night wind speaking to a little lamb and a little drummer boy who visits a special baby and gives him the gift of his music.

In the days that followed, the woman would use Christmas music to lull her daughter to sleep time and again. Each time she sang of that little drummer boy, her mind would wander to a young shepherd in the fields on the night of Christ's birth. He would be afraid to leave his sheep and join the other shepherds who were eagerly seeking out the baby the angels had just told them about. Then, in a moment of great faith, he agrees to go with them and, as a result, he saw the Holy Family and his life was forever changed.

Years passed. The little girl with the blanket and binky started school. The woman turned her attention to her life-long love of writing. In those early days, she sought inspiration and found it in the image of that young shepherd who stepped out in faith and left his sheep behind to visit a baby in a manager. That story becomes her first published book for children.

All around us, in the mundane and the extraordinary moments of living, inspiration is there. We only have to open our minds to all it has to offer us as writers.

Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of Little Shepherd, A Christmas Kindness, Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving and the recently released, Amos Faces His Bully. A blogger and book reviewer, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married. Visit Cheryl online at http://ccmalandrinos.com and her children’s book blog at https://childrensandteensbookconnection.wordpress.com

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Strengthening Writing with Power Verbs: Letters A-G




         As writers, we want our readers to be drawn into and enveloped by our short story or novel, by anything we write. Boredom loses their attention quickly. Showing, using active voice, creates reading excitement. To avoid passive voice and to have active voice, writers use power verbs. To know some power verbs, I discovered a list, author unknown, and added to it. Now, I will share the list I have to date, from A through G this article.

         Let's begin with some verbs beginning with the letter A:
• Advance
• Advise
• Alter
• Amend
• Amplify
• Attack
An example of using such verbs includes using advise rather than tell, when the verb advise fits: Mary told John not to skip school; Mary advised John not to skip school.

         Next, we will look at a few starting with B:
• Balloon
• Bash
• Batter
• Beam
• Beef
• Blab
• Blast
• Bolt
• Boost
• Brief
• Burst
• Bus
• Bust
Again an example, the mortgage interest increased; the mortgage interest ballooned.

         Some verbs start with the letter C:
• Capture
• Catch
• Charge
• Chap
• Chip
• Clasp
• Climb
• Clutch
• Collide
• Command
• Crackle
• Crash
• Crush
Writers often over use take or took. When possible, we can use more powerful verbs: Mary used her camera to take a photo of the scene; Mary used her camera to capture the scene. Not only is "take" avoided, but the sentence become tighter, more concise.

         Next, we add a few verbs that begin with D:
• Dash
• Demolish
• Depart
• Deposit
• Detect
• Deviate
• Devour
• Direct
• Discern
• Discover
• Drain
• Drip
• Drop
How often do we have someone run? Perhaps we can have a person dash across the street rather than run.

         Now comes some verbs commencing with the letter E:
• Eavesdrop
• Engulf
• Enlarge
• Ensnare
• Erase
• Escort
• Expand
• Explode
• Explore
• Expose
• Extend
• Extract
• Eyeball
He led her through the maze; he escorted her through the maze.

         Shall we explore some power verbs with F?
• Fish
• Frown
• Function
• Frustrate
• Fancy
John dislikes the color brown. John frowns on the use of brown.

         One more list of verbs for this time, power verbs beginning with the letter G:
• Gaze
• Glare
• Glisten
• Glitter
• Gobble
• Govern
• Grasp
• Grip
• Groan
• Growl
• Guide
Mary looked at the valley below. Mary gazed at the valley below.

         I keep the full list handy when I write because the thesaurus found with MS Word often doesn't have the best list of synonyms, and it doesn't have any suggestions if I can't express what I need in one word. I will add power verbs from the next seven or eight more letters in a month.