This morning, in my "Writing for Children" class at Marianopolis College, I was trying to explain a tricky concept. The students are beginning work on the texts for their own picture books(probably the hardest assignment they'll get from me all term since though most people don't know it, writing a picture book is killer hard!)... and suggested they do two things: work and play.
By work, I mean they need to consider all the things we've been discussing about picture books -- how they need "big" themes, lively dialogue and how there is usually some change in the main character. By play, I mean the students need to have fun with their stories. I think readers can tell when an author is having fun writing, and that makes the story a better read.
On another note, I've just had news of an upcoming conference here in Montreal. It's called Imagine a Story and it'll take place on Saturday, May 29 at Dawson College. Lots of local kid-lit folks, including me, will participate. There will also be some exciting out-of-town guests like author Alan Cumyn, and author and editor Shelley Tanaka. The focus is going to be on both writing and illustrating and the event is organized by Yesouicanscaip, the Montreal chapter of a wonderful national organization called CANSCAIP. If you're interested in writing or illustrating for kids, try to come!