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Utilize Your Wonder and Respect for The Natural World Within Your Narrative…

April 14, 2014
mandyevebarnett


 articles

My upcoming children’s chapter book, Ockleberries to the Rescue, centers around two woodland sprites, who help all  the forest animals through illness and injury. The theme was inspired by my lifelong love of the natural world, whether it is exotic animals, such as tigers and red panda’s (my personal favorites) or the more common species, such as rabbits, squirrels or birds. The knowledge and wonder shared with me and my siblings by our parents, lives on in us and we have passed on the message to our children. Every single species has a purpose and is intricately linked to another. The ‘food chain’ is the basis for this but there are so many other relationships in the natural world that we are still discovering.

bee-flower

We have all enjoyed the fluttering of a butterfly but have you ever watched a spider make its web? Such industrious behavior is fascinating to behold, similar to ants rebuilding a damaged nest or a bee collecting pollen. These activities are born of instinct and self preservation. Even with all our technology we cannot manufacture a structure as fine and strong as a cobweb or create a completely natural substance from so few components as honey.

Beetle

The smallest bug or insect is a wondrous thing to watch. Did you know woodlice carry their young under their bellies? My daughter at the age of 4 taught me this one! You may not see or consider a beetle scurrying across your path. But look closer – see its colours, its antenna and its shape. There are many different kinds of animals and insects we ‘miss’ in our everyday lives because we are not looking. Sit on the lawn or near a forest trail and watch the tiny world that is so often under your feet and ignored. You will witness a whole new world of activity and renew your connection to nature.

Our interests can be a vital component of our narratives and will give depth to the story because of our knowledge and love of that particular subject. Delve into your depths and find those links to broaden and heighten your subject. It will show in your writing and engage your reader.

What interests have you incorporated into a novel (or novels?)

OckleberriesProof copy cover only. Illustrations and new cover in process.

 

Learning Something New…

July 7, 2011
mandyevebarnett


how-to-create-a-book-cover-layout

The process of creating a book from scratch has many facets and I am learning a few of them. The simplest part you would think would be the physical number of pages – but no. Depending on the type of binding used there are other factors to take into account. For example when using saddle stitch bindings (folded and usually stapled nowadays) the number of pages must be divisible by four, as with my book; Rumble’s First Scare; there are 28 pages. There has to be an even number and the ‘fold’ of sheets has to be taken into account. So I have learned the term ‘sheets’. Then there has to be consideration for the copyright page, the author bio and the dedication page. This can create blank pages, which are inserted to maintain the even number of sheets. I always wondered why books had them now I know! Obviously other types of bindings have slightly different rules.

Once the number of pages is set the format, type face and illustrations have to be decided upon. This can be a complex matter and is dependant on how you want the book to ‘look’. Do you want colour or black & white pictures? Which font do you want to use? How are you going to position the text and drawings? Do you have page numbers (or not!). Is there a header or footer etc? These decisions are dependant on the age group, the genre and to some degree personal choice but it is imperative that you discuss these particulars with your publisher, who will guide you (if they are worth their salt) to ensure the finished product is not only esthetically pleasing (get’s it off the shelf!) but is also appropriate for the type of publication.

Thereby ends lesson one. Happy writing.

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