They say a writer writes . . . and so, I do.
I Write for Children
I always told my six through nine year old students, if you write, you are a writer. They wrote, so they were writers. I write, so I am a writer. too.
I didn't always write. Not really write. I wrote letters to my husband, David, before he was my husband and I wrote letters to my Gram after David was my husband. (no correlation.)
I seriously got interested in writing when I took writing classes one summer at Teacher's College in New York City. I wrote a short story as a picture book text. My professor loved it. So did the teachers who took the class with me. They encouraged me and I was bitten by the "write" bug.
I spent years writing manuscripts and mailing them to children's book editors. None of them were ever published, but I got a lot of rejection letters. They were "good" rejections. But, they all had one word in common, "BUT."
Here are a few examples.
"I think this is the strongest piece you have sent me – it’s funny and charming, and a story young children will relate to well, "BUT …"
Teddy in the Backpack is a very sweet story and I think that Zoe is a great character, "BUT …"
"Your sense of humor shines through in this piece, and you have a wonderful sense of rhythm, "BUT …"
"You write well, no question there, "BUT …"
"This is one of the best LAST lines I’ve ever read. It was great joke, "BUT …"
You can go to my blog, Donna O'Donnell Figurski's Blog to read more. I posted more than twenty-five examples. Musings by Donna #57, Love It - But . . .
My picture books, nearly 30 of them, haven't been published yet. Maybe they will someday. One can always hope.
I have been a member of SCBWI - Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators for more than 20 years. That's how long I have been writing picture book manuscripts. Here are some of the stories I've written. They are looking for a publishing home.
School Is NO Place for a Frog, Robert-Robert
The Best Pest
Teddy in the Backpack
You're a Mess, Miss Tress
Molly Hates Pink
Too Many Bubbles
I Write for Adults
When David had his brain injury in 2005, I wrote with a vengeance to clear my head and make sense of the topsy-turvy world around me. I also wrote to let family and friends know how he was doing. Writing was addicting. The words flowing from my brain, through my fingers, to computer screen was cathartic. One word, one sentence, one paragraph, one chapter and I was on my way to completing Prisoners without Bars: A Caregiver's Tale. Did I know I was writing a book then? No! I wasn't writing a book. I was healing.
A year later when David showed interest in knowing what had happened to him, I read him some paragraphs about the event, his hospital stays, and his rehab. He was fascinated. He wanted more, so I wrote more.
It was David that encouraged me to write Prisoners without Bars: A Caregiver's Tale. (That wasn't the title way back then. It has gone through several title morphs.) It was David that said I have a story to tell. It was David who told me that though he was the catalyst for the story, the story is my story. I had a hard time agreeing with that concept until an agent, who read my story, convinced me. It is indeed my story, but it's also David's.
So, now I am morphing from writer to author--a dream I have had for years unnumbered.