Essay or Children’s Book?

Every children’s book is a short story, but not every short story is a children’s book.

I’ve been writing children’s literature for about a year, and I still have so much to learn. Where can I improve most? Stop over thinking, and over complicating the story.

Even though my goal is to reach children, I’m still writing for adults. My strongest writing is short non-fiction. Therefore, my children book manuscripts are based on my own childhood. That’s my comfort zone.

The problem though, is that I’m reflecting on these experiences with the eyes of an adult – and that is how they are written.

Children understand big concepts, and depending on the age, they are starting to grasp big emotions. However, when I start focusing on the moral, and lessons-learned from my experiences, the fun and adventure can fade out of focus.

I’ve edited a lot of children’s book manuscripts that are “in-work” and I’ve noticed this trend. We need to write to keep a child’s attention and it’s hard, we want to put our big adult ideas all over it. Kids are smart, they have keen ears, and when we start hammering morals and lessons into stories all they hear is, “preach, preach, preach” and let’s be honest, nobody wants to hear that (especially a seven-year-old). Yet children’s book authors are quick to make that mistake.

So, if you’re wondering where my focus is when I’m editing its to take the “preach” out of my text. Carefully weaving the moral or lesson into the story.

I typically let my writing lead and I follow. Sometimes I’m disappointed when I set out to write a children’s book and end up with a personal essay, but I firmly believe that we write how and when we need to write. Through writing we dig into our sub-conscious and unravel a truth we’ve been searching inward to find.

If we end with a different genre than we intended, well then, so be it.

-Rachel McKee

Sunday Social

Sunday Social is a place to mingle, collaborate, and share our blogs. Sunday Social is one more place where you can share a post that maybe didn’t get as much feedback as you were hoping for. Sunday Social is a place to meet new bloggers.

This weekly post is a “wild card” of sorts. There aren’t many rules but I do ask that you follow a few guidelines.

  • Give honest, constructive feedback, but always be courteous.
  • If someone takes the time to comment on your post, please return the favor and check out their endeavors too.

How do you participate?

It’s very easy.

  • Copy and paste the link to your blog or a specific blog post in the comment section below.
  • Give us a little blurb about your blog, the feedback you are looking for, or if you are just hoping to meet some new blogger buddies.

Voila! That’s it.

See you same time again next week!

If you feel inclined, please re-blog this post to help the party grow.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please post those in the comment section as well.

I look forward to reading everyone’s posts.

Cheers! *Clink*

-Rachel

Looking Back

When you look back,
may the sun illuminate every raindrop, shadow, and angry cloud.

Find the golden line of clarity around every moment you asked,
“Why me?!”.

May you see the beauty of the sunlight and rain that make up your life
and realize you needed both to grow.

May you draw strength and wisdom from every storm,
and let peace fill your soul.

 

-Rachel McKee

Picture Pick FriYAY!: Washington State Highway 2

Good morning friends,

Not much new to report here. I’ve been a little MIA this week. I have to blame HBO’s Westworld for being such an intriguing distraction.

I will be hosting Sunday Social here again this Sunday. (For the record on the Sundays where I know I will be busy IRL, I cancel Sunday Social.) I just want to make sure I can engage with my guests and not just drop a post. I will try to post a cancellation message on the Sundays that I cannot host.

For Picture FriYAY I chose some photos that Miles took on his hike at Steven’s Pass. Most of the images are from the drive up (and down). They were taken on Highway 2.

Have a wonderful weekend, I hope to see you all on Sunday.♥

-Rachel

Washington Woods
Washington Woods
Highway 2 Washington State
Highway 2 Washington State
Deception Falls Washington State
Deception Falls Washington State
Deception Falls Washington State
Deception Falls Washington State

For My Valentine

Your mere existence reminds me every day that anything is possible. Your gentle, patient, loving nature, so unlike anything I’d experienced before. You, my husband are beyond anything I’d ever known.

Nobody makes me laugh like you do. You are so funny without trying.

I’m still in awe of you. I still crush hard on you. You are the one I want to be with forever. You are my home.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you my Love.

*******

AND Happy Valentine’s Day to you my friends! This year Miles surprised me with inflatable stand up paddle boards. I’m SO excited to get out and use them. Stay tuned for pictures of our paddling adventures.

Photography note: Miles staged this photo last weekend. We had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs getting that pose.

♥Have a wonderful day.♥

-Rachel McKee

Take Me Home River

Take me home river.

Ride your current,

go with the flow.

By childhood dreams

and brother streams,

Take me home river,

take me home.

Stars guide the way,

to the family that stayed.

The light burns inside,

for the kin who strayed.

Take me home river,

take me home.

– Rachel McKee

Sunday Social

I created Sunday Social as a way to mingle, collaborate, and share our blogs. Sunday Social is one more place where you can share a post that maybe didn’t get as much feedback as you were hoping for. Sunday Social is a place to meet new bloggers.

This weekly post is a “wild card” of sorts. There aren’t many rules but I do ask that you follow a few guidelines.

  • Give honest, constructive feedback, but always be courteous.
  • If someone takes the time to comment on your post, please return the favor and check out their endeavors too.

How do you participate?

It’s very easy.

  • Copy and paste the link to your blog or a specific blog post in the comment section below.
  • Give us a little blurb about your blog, the feedback you are looking for, or if you are just hoping to meet some new blogger buddies.

Voila! That’s it.

See you same time again next week!

If you feel inclined, please re-blog to help this party grow.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please post those in the comment section as well.

I look forward to reading everyone’s posts.

Cheers! *Clink*

-Rachel

*Fun fact, Miles took this photo of the llamas while he was in Peru!

Micro Fiction: Nowhere

There are places in my head that I’ve created. I’d like to go to one in particular.

The walls, the floor, and the ceiling are wet, glossy stones. The air is heavy with the smell of Earth and water.

There is one large window with a view of a deep green field. Wild lavender bushes burst through the green and shake in the breeze.

I perch inside this residential cave upon the bench that surrounds a circular Koi pond. Lily pads float on top of the water and the bright orange fish slither about.

The tinkling fountain vibrates around the room and fills my ears.

I am there and yet I’m not. Just as this room exists but does not.

-Rachel McKee

Parent’s Accomplishments and Failures: Why We Should Celebrate Both

Growing up, and even now, I knew how lucky I was to have my mother. She always put me and my brother first. Her patience was vast, but it was not limitless.

Sometimes when I have a “bad parent day” and I snap, yell, show my teeth and scream into a pillow, I think about my mother. Her ocean of patience. How she would help me solve all of  my little-kid problems. She was gentle, thoughtful, and loving.

Instead of this comforting me, or pushing me to do better, I feel worst about my own parenting failures. When I think of my mother’s near saint-hood I begin to wonder why I didn’t inherit those motherly genes. But the other day, I flashed on a vivid memory:

My mother slamming the front door hard enough to make the windows shutter. Her stomping down our front porch to go to the laundry room. (Our laundry room had a separate, outdoor entrance.) Throughout her mad march, she would swear and mumble things like, “Ungrateful, spoiled, frustrating.”. I would scream through my window as she walked by, “I can hear you!” She didn’t care and she didn’t stop, she just kept right on with her mumbling madness. The laundry room was on the other side of my room and I could hear her swear and pound on the washer and dryer with her fists, until eventually she would begin to sob.

I realized upon reflection that I relate to her most through her imperfections.

Her outbursts that at the time offended my seven-year-old-self, actually brings great comfort now that I too understand the stress of parenthood.

After her laundry room breakdowns, she would always come back inside and apologize. She would explain why she was mad and frustrated and we would talk about our fight.

Our reconciliations were perhaps the greatest lessons she could bestow upon me as a child. I appreciate them more as a stressed-out adult.

None of us are perfect and we all lose our minds at times. To pretend that we don’t would be a disservice to our own children. The most important lesson she taught me was to own up to my mistakes and show myself grace when I fall.

Her parenting techniques have stuck with me and are reflected in the care of my own children. I hope my children see the patience in me that my own mother wore like a shawl around her strong shoulders, but when I slip, as she did too, I hope I recover with grace and love.

Rachel McKee