Terry Cookro

August 11, 2006

Post #2029 – 20060811

I’m a retired U.S. Geological Survey geologist who happens to be working for FEMA in Albany NY. I know you live in the Hudson River Valley (that’s why I thought of you today) which I find really beautiful, I just went to see FDR’s home and Val Kill -ER’s favorite home(which groan was closed….darn), and got a taste of the Valley. My question is: What would you suggest I do with several stories I’m writing and crafting for children.

Should I go for an online kind of workshop, or should I go to a “convention-type” workshop. With my job it is hard to go to a local community college.

One of my books is on a scientist, Susan Solomon, who has a mock up of herself in the Smithsonian (that happened when she was in her 30’s), now she is 50. She works at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colorado.

Another book is about a mule that helped a little girl put her bag of cornmeal back up on his back when it slipped off.

Anyway I have a million ideas and I hope that 60 years after I die, some little boy or girl picks up one of my books and is inspired. That is my goal.

I would so appreciate hearing what avenue you think I should use to get published.

Ciao, and thank you.

Terry Cookro

Daniel replies:

I don't know a lot about this topic. I never went to one of those convention type workshops. I also never participated in an online one--but I assume they have the advantage of not costing money. And, I never took a writing course. I taught one once, and it was pretty much useless. I'm not sure you can be taught to write--possibly a course or workshop may provide a few insights or useful tricks, but I think it's usually something one has to teach oneself. Plus you need talent or native ability, and the capacity to look at your own work objectively. Most people I've run into who express a desire to write and publish turn out not to have read widely or analytically--and most of them haven't written a lot either, or cultivated a critical eye. I suppose my stock advice to someone in your position would be to read your way through the children's department of a good library, finding books you admire and trying to understand their structure and the technique employed, and also to write a great deal, and critique your own work vigorously. Actually getting the stuff published is quite hard and a study in itself--there are probably thousands of websites that discuss strategies. Or...you can take what you already have, self-publish, or employ one of the print-on-demand publishers, and give the books away as Christmas presents. Would probably cost no more than going to one or two of those conferences.