Thursday, September 7, 2017

Cooking Up Stories With the Help of Poetry (plus a Giveaway!) ~ Penny Parker Klostermann

Today, the GROG welcomes author Penny Parker Klostermann! 

Penny's delectable new book, A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE, is the story of young William whose love of cooking makes him a bit of an oddball in the land of fairy tales. One day, when he finds a box containing apples, a pumpkin, and a few beans that is destined for Fairy-Tale Headquarters, William uses his culinary talents to whip up some delicious dishes. But, what will happen to the fairy tale characters who are missing key ingredients to their stories? 
Doesn't this look like a delicious book?
Read on for your chance to WIN A COPY!

Penny's debut picture book, THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT, won the "Best in Rhyme" Award at the first ever Rhyme Revolution Conference.
Penny with the founder of
Rhyme Revolution, Angie Karcher
Penny is our guest today and has some advice for you about using poetry to pump up your writing. So, without further delay, on to the main course!

Penny: As writers, we often hear that we should read, and even write, poetry to help with our picture book writing skills. There's a valuable connection. 

Even though writers often hear about the value of poetry, many dismiss the advice because they feel like they don't have the time or they don't see the value. They wonder:

Why spend time with poetry when I don't want to 
write a poetry collection?

Why spend time with poetry when I'm not interested 
in writing a rhyming picture book?

Why spend time with poetry when there are only 
so many hours in the day and I have so much 
to learn about writing what I want to write...
which is picture books, not poetry?

So, why?


Because a poem is a tiny moment told in just a few words. A poem teaches the economical use of words. A poem uses words and language that will paint a picture in the reader's mind. A poem is meant to be read aloud so poets use words, language, and poetic techniques that add to the read-aloud experience.

You might be thinking, "Whoa! Wait! Hold on! Aren't those the elements of a successful picture book? Isn't this redundant?"

I can promise you that it's not. The reading of poetry will give you an appreciation of language. It will heighten your awareness of techniques that will make your work a pleasure to read aloud. And if you will go a step further and write poems, you will strengthen your skills even more. If you're not a rhymer, don't worry. Writing free verse will benefit you, too. Slowly you will feel poetry influencing your choice of words and language in your picture book manuscripts. 


It's pretty obvious how poetry helped me with THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT. It's a rhyming picture book, so immersing myself in rhyme and meter made sense. But my second book, A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE is in prose. Yet the reading and writing of poetry had a huge influence on its text. When I compare early drafts to the final text, the revisions I made enhanced the story due to better word choice and the use of poetic techniques. The language and read-aloud-ability are much stronger and helped bring my story to a polished point. 


I encourage you to start making poetry a habit. Even spending 10-15 minutes several days a week reading poetry will have an influence on your writing. Where do you start? There are many resources on the Internet and I have collected many of my favorites on my website in the Poetry Resources page. 

Happy poetry-ing!

Thank you, Penny, for sharing your strategies with our readers!

And now, for the icing on Penny's post -- 

YOU CAN WIN 

a copy of A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE! Just comment below to enter the drawing (U.S. residents only, please).

As one final treat, gather around and listen to Penny read THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT:

Delicious!

37 comments:

  1. Hi Patty and Penny! Good news about your newest book - what fun! I like the advice about reading poetry daily. Ty both.

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    1. Thanks! Good luck with your poetry reading. I think it makes a difference.

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  2. Congratulations on your new book, Penny. I use those exact excuses for not reading poetry (hangs head in shame). The value is undeniable though so, I'll check out your resources page today. Thanks!!

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    1. Thanks, Jodi. I think my resources page will give you a lot to choose from. Enjoy!

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  3. We read a lot of fairy tales in my kindergarten. Can't wait to add this to the collection, Penny!

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    1. Thanks, Tina! I love it that you're keeping fairy tales alive by reading them in your classroom!

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  4. Yay, Penny. My book is on its way. And thank you for reminding me to pull out my poetry collections. I always have time for rhyme.

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    1. I hope you enjoy A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE, Sherri. And here's to reading poetry :D

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  5. Inspiring! I think I need to read some poetry! And your new book! Thanks for sharing with us! Congratulations! (I use too many exclamation marks...)

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    1. Thanks! It's hard not to exclaim all the time when we're talking about picture books and poetry!!!!! :D

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  6. Your new book looks delicious, Penny! Can't wait to read it!

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  7. Great Post, Penny! Can't wait to read your new book (I enjoyed the old dragon...)And I've bookmarked your poetry resources page so I can have ready-reference. Here's one of my fave poetry resources: The Writer's Almanac (writersalmanac.org)

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    1. Thanks for another resource, Sue. I'll have to check it out.

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    1. Thanks, Cindy. The wisdom I shared works for me and I hope it will help others.

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  9. Thank you for the inspiration. Can't wait to read the cooked up fairytales.

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    1. Thanks! I hope you enjoy A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE!

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  10. Thank you Penny. Now to examine ACUFT for the poetry influences. Love this new book. Congrats again.

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    1. Thanks! I believe you'll be able to see the poetry influences pretty easily.

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  11. Thanks for the excellent advice, Penny. I can't wait to take a bite our of A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE. It sounds yummy!

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  12. I so, so, so, sooooo agree about reading all kinds of poetry. It enriches writers in so many ways. I read adult and kid-friendly poems every day, usually before I go to sleep. Thanks for a great post!

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    1. It's great to know you feel the same way, Jilanne. Sound like you have developed a helpful habit!

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  13. Congrats on the new delicious book Penny! I enjoy reading poetry and I like your tips for improving our WIPS. Thank you for reading THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT. I laugh overtime I read my copy :)

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    1. Thanks, Charlotte. And it is wonderful to hear that you laugh each time your read DRAGON!

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  14. Sometimes I will pick up just the right poetry at just the right time and it feels as though I am slaking a terrible thirst that I did not know I had been suffering! Thank you for the reminder Penny, to be on the lookout for a poem oasis. Cooking up lots of good wishes for your new tale!

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    1. Funny you mention this, Cathy! Because I was reading Buffy Silverman's Poetry Friday post last Friday on Sept. 1. I've been so busy with my book launch that I haven't had much time to write poetry. Her post was magical! She's such an amazing poet! Anyway, it made me yearn to sit and write a poem. Poetry can do that!

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  15. Thanks for the wise words Penny. I do love to read poetry though I haven't written very much.

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    1. So glad to hear that you love to read poetry. You ought to try your hand at writing...just for pleasure if nothing else. But even if you just stick to reading it, I believe it influences the way you think about language and words.

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  16. Thanks, Penny. I'll increase my efforts.

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    1. Good luck with it, David! I think you'll enjoy it.

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  17. Not only do you know why, you can express for us with economy and emphasis. Thanks, Penny!

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    1. Thanks, Sandy! I'm glad it came across that way!

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  18. Thanks for your advice and congratulations on your newest book. It looks adorable!

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    1. Thanks, Heather! I'm having fun with the launch and blog tour!

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  19. Such a cute dragon story! Thanks for the chance to enter. I'm heading for your blog to see what other great things I can find.

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