Wednesday, July 8, 2015

How to Think Like a Writer in Summer by Tina Cho



Hooray! It's summer. Even though you might be busy with vacations, family reunions, and kids at home, you can still think like a writer and fill your notebook with ideas for when you get some precious minutes to sit down and write. Here are some summery tips:

1. Reminisce with relatives.As you attend family reunions or travel to visit relatives, talk about childhood memories and look at old photo albums. Maybe something from your past can spark a story idea.

2. Fill your tablet/iPad with books. Maybe you're hitting the beach or traveling in the car, download some books to read for yourself and your kids. Summer is the perfect time to catch up on the latest books. 

3. Take note of new settings. While you're on vacation, write about your new setting using the five senses. Maybe this will be the backdrop for a new story. Take photos to accompany your notes so that you can remember clearly.


4. What to do with your kids? This is a tricky one depending on their ages.
  • Keep the kids reading. Enroll them in Scholastic's Summer Club for free. Each day they type in the number of minutes they read. They earn badges, I believe. Overall, their number of minutes is added into the total number of minutes by ALL children enrolled in the program. My son likes to see how his minutes increase the total. So while they read, YOU can have some time to write. Brilliant, huh! I've already started this.

  • If you have little kids, take them to your library's reading program. Usually they have a special summer program and events. This allows you to stay on top of the latest books, too. 
  • Hit museums and zoos. Something interesting might tickle your fancy and become the topic for your next book! Your kids won't know that you're really going to these places for yourself :) 

  • Attend play places. Plop yourself down with a notebook and observe children's play. Listen to their language, names, games, and notice their clothing. A child's name or cute statement might want to be in your next story.

  • Watch a children's movie.(Again, the kids and grand kids are just the excuse.) Watch the movie from the eyes of the writer. How would you write the beat sheet for this movie? (plot line) If you don't know what I'm referring to, you must check out Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. Many picture book writers and novelists use the beat sheet to plot their stories.
5. Set a summer goal to write for something new. Try writing a story or article for your favorite children's or adult magazine. Check out 3-5 issues from your library. Study the style and submissions guidelines. Who doesn't want to make a little extra money?

6. Invent a summer recipe to make with your child/grand child. I've been inspired by my writer friend and critique buddy, Vivian Kirkfield, who published Show Me How! Build Your Child's Self-esteem through Reading, Crafting, and Cooking. She took picture books, developed crafts, and invented recipes to go along with the stories. Genius! Try it! Many children's and parent magazines would love to have your recipes!


I hope these tips give you some ideas as you engage in your summer activities. Happy Summer! ( and Happy Winter to our friends down under)

24 comments:

  1. These are wonderful suggestions, Tina. And cute pictures too!

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  2. Tina, I love the pics of your kids - especially the skateboard pic! You have some great tips to keep us going during the summer months, and I did not know about Save the Cat and beat sheets. Read 3 already. Thanks for new info!

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    1. Thanks, Kathy. Oh, that's great you now know about beat sheets! Those are some old pics of me and the kids about 6 yrs ago.

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  3. I really enjoyed these suggestions. Perfect for summer creativity boosts.

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    1. Thanks so much, Darlene! Happy Summer!

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  4. Great ideas, Tina! I'm looking forward to implementing a few. "Save the Cat" sounds like a good read. Thanks!

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    1. Thanks, Jarm. Yes, try a beat sheet.

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  5. Wonderful tips, Tina! And I love the one about watching movies for kids, whether or not you have a kid with you. ;) ;) I actually do that all the time. But the BEST tip was to take a notebook when you are at the playground or other place kids are playing...a name, a phrase...they might totally be the spark for a new story.
    And you are a dear to give a shout-out to my book, Tina...much appreciated. ;)

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    1. How was your play date? any great ideas?

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  6. Love the post and the tips. Summer is a fun time-enjoy :)

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  7. Tina, These are terrific ideas and tips. I especially appreciate your note about Scholastic's Summer Club. I'm going to sign up my son. Thank you. Have a great summer!

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    1. Great. Hope your son likes it. Plus, they give some fun reading excerpts.

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  8. Thanks for these great ideas Tina!

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  9. Thanks for introducing me to the beat sheet idea! Also love the photos of your children.

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  10. Tina: Your kids are so delightful. You are a busy Momma always on the go with your two sweeties.

    This post affirms for me what I do, such as spending time with the grands for an ulterior motive-ideas for Oma Sue's WIPs. This post introduced me to new learning-a beat sheet.

    Finally, Vivian's book sounds like a wonderful resource filled with many activities that I need to purchase.
    ~Suzy

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    1. Hi Suzy! Glad the post was helpful for you. And how nice you have so many grand kids to gather ideas from!

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  11. One of the nourishing posts I've come to look forward to from you Tina.
    And Vivian's book sounds intriguing. Thanks a bunch.
    I luv seeing you & your children & am excited for their summer reading club.
    And I'm with you as a fan of Blake Snyder - thank you for the mention/link. Long live the beats!

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    1. Oh thanks so much, Jan! Good to know you're also a "beater."

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  12. Great ideas Tina. Loved the Zoo and Museum. Kiddie watching is so much fun. Even in or winter these tips are all great. Thanks Tina.

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    1. Yes, it is, Diane. Thanks for stopping by!

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