Can an Old Dog Learn New Tricks?

Hello everyone!

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C. S. Lewis

Write a story about a character who perceives himself/herself or who is perceived by society as being too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream, but does it anyway.

Here are some questions to get the creative juices flowing:

  1. What is his/her goal?
  2. Why is this person “too old” (physical age, the age at which the activity/goal/career is usually started or ended, marital status, etc.)?
  3. What challenges/obstacles does he/she face?

Happy writing!



How to Format Manuscripts and Cover Letters

Hello everyone!

While preparing to submit some picture book manuscripts to agents and publishers, I looked up industry standards online. Although there seem to be variations in preference, I found the following articles to be helpful and hope you will find them equally useful.

“Picture Book Standards: 32 Pages” by Darcy Pattison:

“Formatting Your Manuscript” by Pat Sherman:

“Manuscript Format Basics” by Harold Underdown:

“16 Manuscript Format Guidelines” by Simon Kewin:

“Writing a Cover Letter” by Pat Sherman:

Happy Writing!


Strange, but True Memories with Dad

Hello everyone!


“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.” – Mark Twain

If your dad is anything like mine, you know how true this quote is. My dad is funny, charismatic, and has a mischievous streak, but he’s also thoughtful, helpful, and supportive. This great combination resulted in some really amazing birthday parties!

I often take events from my own life and alter them (subtly or outrageously) to enhance my writing, especially my picture books. In honor of Father’s Day, think back on a favorite dad memory. Then, do the following:

Step 1:

Write out the event like a scene from a play, short story, chapter book, or novel.

Step 2:

  1. Exaggerate events to make the scene hilarious.
  2. Exaggerate events to make the scene tragic.
  3. Exaggerate events to make the scene suspenseful.

Step 3:

Choose which version of exaggerated events you like best and use that as the creative springboard to write the rest of the play, short story, chapter book, or novel.

Happy writing and happy Father’s Day!


Kill Your Darlings

Hello everyone!

Like me, you’ve probably heard the phrase, “kill your darlings” enough times to want to strangle the next person who says it.  Nevertheless, the overall quality of any piece does improve when these extra words, characters, scenes, etc. are removed.  Follow the link to a blog post by Tara Lazar containing guidelines for which “darlings” should be eliminated as soon as possible:

Happy writing!