by Kirsti Call
Do you ever feel like your writing journey is riddled with rocks and obstacles and a very steep incline? Whenever I visit Utah, I pause as I admire the breathtaking beauty of the mountains. Hiking to the top of a mountain isn’t easy, but the resulting view is more than worth the trouble.
My mountain of picture books for ReFoRemo never fails to make me smile. I’m always astounded by how much I learn by reading and re-reading stellar mentor texts. The Reading for Research challenge makes me pause as I journey to the apex of my writing mountain.
Sometimes the mountain of books stares at me, daring me to dive in. It takes energy and time to read and study and really pay attention to a picture book. Here are some questions I ask myself as I hike the rocky trail:
- What do I like about this book?
- What don’t I like about this book?
- What feeling does this book evoke for me? Anger? Love? Boredom? Excitement?
- What aspects of this book work and resonate for me?
- What aspects of this book would I change if I were the author?
- Are there elements in this book that I can incorporate into my writing or in the revision of my manuscripts?
Every day after I finish reading picture books to my kids, I ask them: “What did you like about this book?” I’m almost always surprised and delighted by their answers.
Whether I agree with them or not, it comes down to my own personal writing mountain. Will I create my own mountain of books that kids will want to climb? Will I have the strength and persistence to climb the mountains of research and writing and revision and rejection that it takes to get my books into the world?
I gaze at my mountain and take a deep breath. Yes. I will climb my mountain, asking questions at every incline. And when I reach the apex, I will pause again....
and take in the breathtaking view.
Kirsti is giving away a copy of her book, THE RAINDROP WHO COULDN'T FALL. To be eligible for the drawing at the conclusion of ReFoReMo, please comment on this post and strive to read mentor texts regularly.
Kirsti Call reads, critiques and revises every day. She is a member of various critique groups, and blogs for Writer's Rumpus. As the author of The Raindrop Who Couldn't Fall and a homeschool mom, Kirsti coaches revision for children ages 5-18. Her school visits involve interactive writing, singing, and of course, reading for research! Kirsti contributed as a 2016 CYBILS Picture Book Fiction panelist, and is thrilled to be the 2017 ReFoReMo co-coordinator. You can follow her journey at www.kirsticall.com.