Saturday, January 11, 2020

happy New Year, dear universe

  OK, universe--putting it out there that I would like to see my biography of Marjory Stoneman Douglas published, and I imagine myself doing book signings at bookstores in Florida near the Everglades. I see myself donating proceeds from book sales to the MSD High School fight for tougher gun laws, and to the Friends of the Everglades. I see my book in the Everglades National Park bookstore.
   How am I going about getting the book ready? I've hired a presenter from the Highlights non-fiction workshop to help me shape it up, and I've been fortunate to get input from women in my Caldecoots group for older women writers. I joined RYS and I'm going to submit an edited version of my story every month until I get a 1, or at least a 2. I'm looking up agents on MSWL and I've risked sending a version off to a couple agents already. I've written to Pineapple Press to see if they would let me submit my story to them, since they have an MSD bio for older readers but not for young, PB readers. I'm checking out dozens of PB bios and studying how they are structured.
   My story is about a women who is not well-known, and who was an early environmentalist, which gives it a STEM interest. I feel these are both selling points for my book. And I am willing to revise again and again. I even wrote one draft as the story of the opossum she once rescued. I have the current version down to about 750 words, and about 400 words in back matter.
   OK, universe, do your best!

Monday, December 23, 2019

Ouch! In Dec. 2019, my story got a 7 on Rate Your Story

  A comment that really got me was, "Reads more like a book report than a narrative." A 7 means it's a subject worthy of merit, but needs a lot of revision. Sigh. Some good concrete suggestions, though, and the reviewer had some good things to say about the lyrical writing. I'll shape it up and submit in January. Maybe I'll move up to a 6!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Chop, Chop

   Oh, it's so hard to obliterate my character's childhood! It's important to start the story closer to her work as a writer, so I had to "kill my darlings" and to leave so much out. It does make it tighter and more focused. But aaaaghh! Leaving out her friendship with mice in her grandmother's kitchen, her father leaving the family, her marriage to a crook, her divorce, traveling to the Florida capitol with her sufragette friends, joining the Red Cross and traveling to sad. But it's a picture book. Kep it simple. Why is keeping it simple so hard??

Monday, December 9, 2019

Susannah Hill's Holiday Contest

A Treat for Nana (73 words)

By Deborah Holt Williams

I really love my Nana,

so I made her a Christmas treat.

She’s on a special diet,

She can’t have anything sweet.

I thought about sugar-free cookies,

But wait—she has no teeth!

I took some selfies and printed them out

And glued the pics on a wreath.

I tied on sticks of cinnamon

And pinecones, one, two three.

She hung the wreath by her favorite chair.

She says her treat is—ME!

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Rate Your Story

  I joined Rate Your Story early this year, which means I get to submit a story in December as well as every month in 2020. I sent in my Marjory Stoneman Douglas manuscript tonight, after lots of revision, and I'll look forward to seeing how the judge rates it. Maybe 2020 will be my lucky year!

Monday, October 28, 2019

My Halloweensie entry

Halloween is my favorite holiday, and Susannah Hill's annual contest is one of my favorite events! Here's my entry:

 Halloweensie Treats (78words)

By Deborah Holt Williams

Halloween’s upon us

And I really love to cook.

Welcome to my kitchen!

Here’s the steps I took.

I thought I’d treat my family

To my candy apple stew.

But it tasted kinda nasty

When I added cobwebs, too.

So then I thought I’d treat them

To a tasty pumpkin potion.

Pumpkin in the microwave—

Kabam! Orange explosion!

Yikes! The pumpkin’s flaming!

Here’s a handy treating trick:

Got fire? Go get marshmallows,

And roast them on a stick!

Friday, October 11, 2019

My Kidlit Writing Fall Frenzy entry

    Thank you, Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez and Lydia Lukidis for setting up this contest! I tip my (black and pointy) hat to you both. The idea is to write a story under 200 words based on one of the pictures they posted. I chose this picture:
Alas, Poor Gerald by Deborah Holt Williams (Lucky)

     My husband Gerald said I shouldn’t celebrate Halloween this year. “Why can’t you be like the other wives?” he asked. Bah! He knew what I was when he married me. And up until this year when we moved to Suburbia, he’s always accepted that, on this one special night, I can be who I truly am. Go a little batty! Reach for the skies! But now, he wants me to blend in with our boring neighbors. Stay home and hand out candy to greedy brats in Kmart costumes and surly teens who don’t even dress up. Not my cup of brew, Gerald, thank you very much. Ah, Gerald. Poor Gerald. You never saw it coming, blessed be. But you’ll make a lovely decoration for the front porch. Gotta fly!