Monday, March 13, 2017

And We Have a Winner!

Picture Book author and blogger, Cynthia Mackey submitted the winning entry, "Friendship Soup" with a delightful twist on "playing with your food"!  Congratulations Cindy? You can check out her wining entry on her blog at "Friendship Soup" on Simply Cindy.

I also want to thank all of the other wonderful authors and poets who shared their work. It was great fun to read thier entires and even more fun to see how they stopped back in at Wordy Wanderings to support their fellow writers. Bravo one and all!

Stop back by, there will be another Creative Calisthenic coming soon!

Feeling Creative?

 Reminiscing About Your Favorite Candy?

Who is ready for some creativity calisthenics? Inspired by Kenvin Henkes genius book about the life of a marshmallow chick as a friend, can you share a narrative poem or short short about a food who becomes a child's friend? (100 words or less folks) 

And because a picture is worth a thousand jelly beans, you can also share your story as an illustration. 

Can you do it?! Yes, you can! I'd even be willing to send the winner a prize in the food they pick (no caviar, please). 

You can post the story to your blog or include the whole story in a comment on this post. The winner will be announced here and on my Facebook community, 

Another inspirtation of this contest is the wonderful work of my friend Vivian Kirkfield who runs the #50 Precious Words Writing Contest and the fantastic blog, Picture Books Help Kids Soar. Thank you for the inspiration, Vivian. 

Swim with the Swedish Fish. Hop with chocolate bunnies. Picnic with gummy bears. Let's get creative with candy, folks!  Happy Writing!

This contest is open until 3/31/17.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Crafting Characters 

Who Have Special Needs

by Kortney Price 
 Holloway Literary Agency

In my submission interests I list that I am always interested in work containing special needs characters. Why? Because I grew up working in the special needs community (Check out TASK!).  This community has taught and inspired me so much over the years and I want to give back and help them to be heard and understood. Because I want others who don’t feel comfortable around people with special needs to have the opportunity to learn through books and experience the same wonderful community.

When we include characters who are different from ourselves in our stories, we have to keep in mind that they cannot be defined as different. They have to be that puzzle piece that fits perfectly into your story to create the big picture you want readers to see. So, if you’re creating special needs characters in your story, here are a couple of tips I’ve picked up along the way.

     1)   Disability is Not a Definition. Focus on the Individual

      When you’re crafting a special needs character make sure you’re not defining them by their disability. We already know that characters need flaws, strengths, goals and a voice to feel well rounded. The same goes for special needs characters. Who are they as a person? That should be your focus. 

    2)   Research, Research, Research

      You’re going to be researching for some element of your story anyway, why not really get to know what’s happening in your character’s brain or body? The human brain is like a computer. People with certain special needs have brains that run on a different operating system than what you might be used to. Really learning about how your character’s brain runs will help you to create a well-rounded character both in your head and on the page.

3)   Know Why Your character is Present

Every character in your story has to have a purpose. If your protagonist has a little brother or sister with special needs, make sure they have a purpose in your story. If you don’t give your characters a purpose you run the risk of your story becoming cluttered or having characters who only serve to diversify your story rather than express theme or move the plot.

If you are working on writing a story featuring those in the special needs community, check out these links for lists of award winning books featuring characters with a variety of special needs.

·       Schneider Family Book Award Winners
·         Dolly Gray Award Winners

If you’re looking for reliable resources in your research, check out this awesome list of sources on the Autism Speaks website, the Department of Mental Health’s website, or try heading out to volunteer and spend some time with the special needs community in your area.

Call for Submissions:

I’m currently looking for manuscripts in the middle grade to new adult range. If you have a story featuring special needs characters and would like to submit to our agency, check out our submission guidelines here.

WIN a free critique with Associate Agent Kortney Price:

If you share your comments on this blog by March 31st, you'll be entered to win a critique with Ms. Price. If you're the winner, you can submit up to 10 pages of a manuscript that fits her call for submissions and get a written critique of your work.

Share Your Thoughts:

What are your thoughts on the portrayals of characters with special needs in children's and young adult literature? Are such portrayals important? How so? Which books do an excellent job? Which don't? Why? Come join the discussion and enter the chance to win a free critique.