May 15, 2015

The Five Senses with Ozzie

For those of you who faithfully read Children's Writer's World blog, you know that my beloved eight-year cat passed away in March.   It's hard to describe the loss.  Ollie was part of our family and his passing left me terribly sad.  Several friends suggested that I find another pet.  One friend told me there is always room for more love.

Some time afterward, my husband and I visited local humane societies. But going to the animal shelter on the weekends was too crowded with pet-seekers.  So, I started to search online instead.  In a short period of time, I found an eight-month old, amber-eyed stray named Polo. I felt a connection to him.  Mid-week, I drove to the shelter. When I called his name, a little grey-striped paw pushed through the slats of a cage. My heart melted the moment we were face to face.  That day, I signed the adoption papers and renamed him Ozzie.

In many ways, Ozzie is Ollie reincarnated.  Though he may not look like Ollie, he acts like him.  Ozzie rests on the bed when I nap, lounges in front of the computer as I work, and sits near me in the arm chair when I read—just as Ollie had once done. He understands the same words that Ollie had once known:  "sit," "stay," and "come here" and "let's go up" and "let's go down" whenever I call him from the stairs.

I will always miss Ollie, but his passing led us to meeting and adopting Ozzie.

I sit at a table with the kitchen door open and Ozzie at my feet.  This is where I write.

I hear:
Ozzie's rumbled purring
a cardinal singing "cheer, cheer, cheer"

I touch:
Ozzie's fuzzy furry belly
the smooth, slick wooden table
rough woven place mats

I smell: 
chicken cooking in olive oil
clean fresh spring air

I taste:
a sweet Honey crisp apple
iced tea, slightly sweetened

I see: 
shadows of tree branches on the deck
a breeze tickling the lime-green leaves of a locust tree
a wisp of a cloud floating across a pale blue sky
Kentucky bluegrass, a deep emerald green
Ozzie stretched out, eyes closed, dreaming

May 1, 2015

So You Want to Write for KIT?

As the editor of Kid’s Imagination Train, I receive emails from writers who want to know what topics interest me.

A few authors want to write about famous people.  And this is what I tell them. If you want to write an article about a famous person, it has to relate to children.  You may spend many hours detailing the important aspects of a prominent person's life from birth to death, but chances are kids will not be drawn to this kind of article.  A piece like this has the tendency to come across as lifeless and dull.  So you need to find a way to spice it up. See if you can find a humorous event or discover a courageous act about the famous figure during his childhood days.  If the person is still living, do an interview and add some interesting quotes.  Make the writing snappy and lively.

Many people want to write about animals.  KIT publishes animal pieces, but they should be told with a unique slant.  For instance, KIT has published pieces about animal tongues and animal feet.  We also like articles about unusual animals. In our June 2015 issue, we will publish an article about an animal called a Fisher cat.   Have you ever heard of this creature?  Let me give you a clue—it is not a cat!

Sometimes, authors send me a list of topics and ask me to choose.  Though I may select a topic, this may not necessarily garner an acceptance.  It’s all in the writing.  After the piece is written, read your work out loud as if you were reading it to a child.  Is the information presented in a logical manner with similar facts grouped together?  Would it capture and hold the attention of a child from beginning to end?

To get ideas for a piece, take a look at our archives.  Look over the topics that have been published. Read several pieces.  Get a feel for the writing style.   And then mull over ideas and make a list of possibilities. Then choose a topic that has the potential to educate and entertain.  The key is find a topic that interests you and children as well.