Read it Out Loud Until it Sings! Friday

Read it Out Loud Until it Sings! Friday    Day Day 27

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Don’t forget…

The Golden Quill Poetry Contest submissions are due tomorrow!

 I think I have sent email confirmations to all the competitors but if you are unsure if I got it, please send me an email at Angiekarcherrpbm@gmail.com

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We will celebrate Willy S’s Birthday

on Saturday with one last Rhyming Party!

Brush up on your William Shakespeare facts,

as well as information from the past weeks lessons!

RhyPiBoMo Rhyming Party

 

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I was mistaken in my post yesterday about Lori Degman’s book Cock-a-Doodle Oops…I said that it came out this month. It actually comes out in May so please go to Amazon and pre-order your copy now!

Cock-a-Doodle-Oops!

 

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Also, please remember that the webinar that was originally scheduled for tonight has been rescheduled for May 12th at 6:00 Pacific Standard Time. Here is the link to reserve your spot….

 https://wj168.infusionsoft.com/app/page/free_poetry_webinar

 

Today’s guest blogger is the very talented author of many rhyming picture books. She actually had a book come out this month! I got the two authors and their books confused…It took me 27 authors guest blogging to get two of them mixed up! LOL

Her book Puddle Pug came out April 1st!

 

9781454904366_cvr.inddPuddle Pug

 

It is on my list of books to buy, that is growing by the day. Here is the

wonderful description….

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“Percy the Pug loves puddles—big puddles, small puddles, swamp puddles, stomp puddles. But no puddle is perfect  . . .  until he finds one with three friendly piglets. But protective Mama Pig says NO PUGS and chases Percy away! Irresistibly illustrated by Keika Yamaguchi, Kim Norman’s tale about a persistent pug and his pursuit of friendship in puddle paradise brims with warmth and charm.”

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Check it out and order or grab a copy today!

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So, without further ado, I’m honored to present today’s

Golden Quill Guest Blogger

Kim Norman!

   Rhypibomo Guest Blogger Badge     Kim Norman 1

 

In the 90s, as I began my journey as a children’s writer, everywhere I turned I encountered this advice: “Editors hate rhyme. They won’t buy rhyme. Don’t write your book in rhyme.”

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I followed that advice, and the first picture book I sold was non-rhyming. So far, it’s my least successful book. I’m sure there were other factors than mere lack of rhyme that led to poor sales, including the fact that it had a cryptic title and no one had ever heard of me.

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But the facts remain:
• I’m good at writing rhyme.
• Editors do buy rhyming manuscripts. Sometimes they’ll even fight for them in an auction! (My first auction between three publishers was for a rhyming text.)
• Kids love rhyme.
• Rhyming books can sell very well. My Ten on the Sled has gone into multiple re-printings, has been issued in a wide variety of formats and has been translated into Korean and German… which also refutes the argument that rhyming texts are too hard to translate. I can’t speak for the Korean edition, but I remember my C+ high school German well enough to know that the translator managed to make it rhyme for die kleinen Kinder.

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That old “Editors-hate-rhyme” chestnut is missing a word. Editors don’t hate rhyme. They hate BAD rhyme. If it’s clever, fresh and well-written, they love it. They were once rhyme-loving kids themselves.

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Here are a few things you can do to ensure your rhyming manuscript is fresh enough to catch an editor’s eye (and ear!)

• Look for surprising rhymes. It’s hard to surprise a reader when pairing words like “glad” and “sad.” In fact, single syllable rhymes are probably the hardest to keep fresh, because “glad” is so tediously likely to be followed by “sad.” I try to shake things up and phrase my sentences so the rhymes are unexpected. This doesn’t mean pulling out a thesaurus and trying to find a 5-syllable rhyme. It means rewriting and rewriting until I’ve crafted phrases and rhymes my reader hasn’t seen a hundred times before.

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• Avoid what I call “gratuitous rhymes.” These are rhymes using awkward phrasing or poorly-chosen words just to make the rhyme. Sorry, but Dr. Seuss got away with this a lot. I adored him, too, but there was mighty awkward phrasing in some of his books, not to mention characters whose names seemed to conveniently rhyme with words important to the themes of the books. You and I will not be allowed that leeway. So if you’re tempted to write “fast he went” simply because the previous line ends with the word “bent”… you are allowed this luxury… ON YOUR FIRST DRAFT. Modern American language is not structured this way. Your rhymes need to flow as naturally as modern speech. If this means rewriting it two dozen times, so be it. (Ironic I used an archaic phrase like “so be it” to emphasize this point, don’t you think?)

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• Write text that would be fun to read even if it weren’t in rhyme. Include other forms of wordplay, like alliteration, assonance, repetition, opposites, humor, etc.

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• After several rewrites, print up two copies. Give one copy to a friend and ask her to read it aloud to you – cold (no advance practice) – while you read along silently from your own copy, marking any spot where she stumbles over words or meter. Do this with several friends, especially those you know are good with rhythm and meter – perhaps folks who are musically inclined. Then go back and FIX those spots, so that – next time around – your cold reader achieves a flawless first read. It doesn’t matter if you love one particular stanza more than your firstborn child. If it causes a reader to stumble, you MUST change it.

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I don’t always write in rhyme. In fact, the first of this month, Puddle Pug was released – a mostly non-rhyming book published by Sterling Children’s Books. (It does have a few rhyming couplets, but the story is told in prose.) But, cute-as-a-bug pugs aside, here’s what I have decided about my writing career: I like writing in rhyme. It’s the only type of writing that pulls me back to my desk, instead of avoiding it like homework. To me, writing in rhyme feels more like play than work. And that’s a darned nice way to make a living.

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Bio:
Kim Norman has ten picture books in print (six in rhyme) with another three in production. Her books have been published by Sterling Children’s Books, Scholastic and two Penguin imprints. Several of her books have been featured in Scholastic Book Fairs and Club fliers. I KNOW A WEE PIGGY, illustrated by Henry Cole, (Dial Books for Young Readers) received numerous starred reviews, was favorably reviewed in the New York Times and was added to the 2013 “Texas 2×2” reading list. Kim lives in Virginia but travels around the U.S. doing author visits to elementary schools, where she shares her love of reading and writing. She is represented by the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. http://www.kimnormanbooks.com

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I want to introduce you to Kim’s latest book baby…Puddle Pug!

9781454904366_cvr.indd

 Released April 1, 2014 Congrats Kim!
http://www.kimnormanbooks.com/

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More of Kim’s wonderful books!

JACK OF ALL TAILS, Dutton, 2007
CROCODADDY, Sterling, 2009
TEN ON THE SLED, Sterling, 2010
ALL KINDS OF KITTENS, Sterling, 2010
STORYTIME STICKERS: WHALES, Sterling, 2011
I KNOW A WEE PIGGY WHO WALLOWED IN BROWN, Dial, 2012
STORYTIME STICKERS: DINOSAURS, Sterling, forthcoming
UNDERCOVER CLAUS, Sterling, forthcoming

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Thank you Kim Norman!

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RhyPiBoMo Daily Lesson: Friday, April 25th
By Angie Karcher © 2014
Lesson 27

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Read it Out Loud!

Have a Friend Read it Out Loud!

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Why read it out loud?
When text is read out loud it takes on a new personality…it becomes an interactive, oral, dramatic piece of work.
When you read a story out loud you take on a new personality too. You take off your writer hat and put on your snazzy, sequined, story teller hat. Your voice takes on character’s voices, your intonation rises and falls, you speed up and you slow down depending on the events occurring. You even pause in the perfect spots to set up a dramatic moment. That is if you are reading a well written picture book manuscript!

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Reasons Why:
test word choices
test pacing
hear intonation when reading aloud
To catch typos, grammatical errors and omitted words
Listen for the pauses
To test the order of the story – does it make sense?
To test the plot – is it effective?
To test the sentence structure – are they too repetitive, too convoluted or too long?
Does the rhythm flow?
Reading it out loud is multi-sensory – you will now hear your text as well as having already seen it. This allows for more absorption as we all learn more from different sensory techniques.

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Checklist
It is very important to only look for one type of flaw at a time! Start with one and then read it again to look for the next
□ Spelling – don’t trust spell check!
□ Grammar
□ Sentence Structure
□ Omitted Words
□ Word Choice
□ Pacing
□ Plot
□ Meter
□ Pauses
□ Poetic Devices

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This is a starter list so you can add to it!

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Here are several wonderful resources explaining why to read your manuscripts out loud:

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How to Read Your Writing Out Loud
http://matadornetwork.com/notebook/how-to-read-your-writing-out-loud/

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The Writing Center
http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/reading-aloud/

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The Writing Center
http://writingcenter.tamu.edu/for-faculty/teaching-writing/instruction/reading-aloud/

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This site has an AWESOME list of editing tips from professional proofreaders and editors.
LR Communication Systems, Inc.

http://www.lrcom.com/tips/proofreading_editing.htm
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We have covered the why, so now here are a few options of how to do it…

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Read it to yourself

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The first and most obvious way is to sit down and read it out loud to yourself. My dogs are my best audience. They love everything I write! I know this because they dance around with tails wagging…I say, “Let’s read” They come running…LOL
Okay, maybe my dogs aren’t my best audience for feedback.

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Read it to yourself one sentence at a time – starting at the end of the story and moving backwards to the beginning.

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This forces you to only focus on that sentence. You won’t be thinking about anything but the sentence structure, word choices, punctuation, rhythm, meter and omitted words. It is about the sentence. If you try to do this in the natural order of the sentences, you tend to start thinking about other story details and not just focusing on the sentence.

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Have someone else read it to you

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It is actually better to have someone else read it to you. When we as writers read it, we automatically add the pauses, intonation, and adjust the pacing for the story because we know how we want it to read. That is different than the actual way it reads.
Find someone who will read it to you while you sit with a copy of the text in front of you. Mark all the spots where they trip on words, stumble on phrases and literally fall down when it comes to the pacing.

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Ask lots and lots of people; adults, teachers, kids, neighbors, friends, relatives, other writers, critique group members, ets…

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Record yourself while reading the text out loud

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Most telephones and digital devices have a recording option. This is a quick option and also nice because you could listen to it over and over as needed for editing purposes. You can also re-record it as you go through the process.

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Did you know that Word can talk?

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Janet Smart, a RhyPiBoMoer mentioned in our Facebook Group that Microsoft Word has a speech command. It is very simple to set up and very useful. I had never heard this before so I followed her quick instructions and immediately, my stories were being read back to me on the spot. Thanks so much Janet!

JanetSmart’s blog The Blackberry Patch where she gives detailed instructions on how to find and enable this feature.

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http://creativewritingintheblackberrypatch.blogspot.com/2013/07/learning-every-day-speak-command-on-word.html

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Another Voice Command Option

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I found another voice command option that is free for 10 minutes a day and easy to use. You do have to down load it but I tested it and it was quick, safe and works well, with some interesting additional options. It is called Natural Reader and it allows you to alter the reader’s language, voice, speed of reading and more. You are also able to share your work on social media if you choose and you can send it via email and save it as an audio file. One other interesting feature is that it offers an mp3 version so you could listen to it on your phone or other electronic devices while driving or traveling, etc. There is a fee for this option and I didn’t see how much. It’s really pretty cool.

Natural Reader is another option

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http://www.naturalreaders.com/index.php

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This is a poem that I downloaded just for you to hear the difference between the Word reader and this one.

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It’s a poem called Word Outgoing that I wrote years ago. Interestingly enough, when the Natural Reader read it to me directly from their site, he read it much smoother and without the odd pronunciation moments. Once I downloaded it to share here, my reader guy seemed to have twitches in his reading, pronounced don’t as “daaahn-tee” and p.j.s as “P J S” Too funny! There are some oddities as with any digital format but for practicality, this works.

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http://www.naturalreaders.com/onlinetts.php?bookid=092b6288-cc4c-11e3-861e-12313d27c687&bookname=NaturalReaders&page=1&addr=http://api.naturalreaders.com/v2/storage/text/092b6288-cc4c-11e3-861e-12313d27c687.txt

(I had trouble hearing this with my iPad but it worked on my laptop…??)

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I found a digital app for making dummies! And it reads it back to you!

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Yesterday we were talking about picture book dummies and someone commented that they wondered if there is an app to create a book dummy. I found an app called the Little Story Creator that will work.

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It is really for kids to create and share digital stories but it would totally work for the purpose of creating a picture book dummy. It is simple to create a cover, decorative end pages, apply text to each page etc. You can easily go back and delete or edit if needed.

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It also has a read aloud feature. After you are all done, it will read it back to you page by page. The digital book dummy can then be shared through email or social media if you need to send it to someone else for an opinion.
I’m still searching, but this is the first one I found that was simple and free…

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Little Story Creator
https://itunes.apple.com/app/id721782955

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Here is a silly little story that I started while testing the process…I’m ashamed to say it doesn’t rhyme but I started playing and then decided to use it as an example…

I call this Fred and Laurenneʹ Make Onionneʹ Souppeʹ

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Fred and Laurenne

http://www.littlestorycreator.com/view/s-55BDEB37-D458-4958-86DC-9EB91AE4DC96

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You click the arrows to move front to back and you can either click the arrow for the read aloud feature or you can click the actual page.

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My hope is that they will make delicious French onion soup together some day!
It’s a work in progress…LOL

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There are lots more options that I haven’t explored but basically I created a digital picture book dummy in less than 15 minutes, that is recorded in my voice, and I can now listen to over and over until all the editing is done. Simple and effective!

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Reading Prompt: Use one or more of the read aloud prompts above for your picture book manuscript that you have been working on this month.

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Okay, now do everything else on the pledge for today and don’t forget to comment on today’s blog post!

RhyPiBoMo Pledge

RhyPiBoMo PledgeRhyPiBoMo Pledge Please comment ONLY ONE TIME below for a chance to win today’s prize! Prizes will be drawn by Random.com next Sunday for the previous week. To be eligible for a prize you must be a registered participant and comment after each days lessons.

 

70 thoughts on “Read it Out Loud Until it Sings! Friday

  1. Enjoyed the post today with the author, and everytime I come across a poetic part in a book I always read it aloud. It’s more entertaining.

  2. People who write on rhyme write in prose as well. that’s swell. Thanks for that tidbit and the word talking programs.

  3. I prefer when someone else reads the text. You know your work and can baby it along, but when someone not familiar with your story reads, you hear how anyone might approach it. Rough spot become glaring.

  4. Love the natural reader tool! Like Natasha said above, Mike, the American guy sounds like a doofus, but when I changed it to the English chap, Graham, it sounded a lot better!

  5. Thanks Kim, I enjoyed you post.
    Thanks Angie. My screensaver is a picture of my kids and I read my stories out loud to them. Doesn’t get me much in the way of feedback but what an attentive audience they are😉

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