This month on YGLTW, we’d like to introduce author and illustrator Debbie Ohi (Inkygirl)!
Debbie Ridpath Ohi is the author and illustrator of Where Are My Books? and Sam & Eva. Her illustrations have appeared in books written by Judy Blume and Michael Ian Black, among others.
A former computer programmer analyst, Debbie launched one of the first online communities for writers and was also a columnist and author for Writer’s Digest/F&W. Now she writes and illustrates for a living, and has helped create nearly 25 books for young people.
Luckily for us, this experienced veteran shared some of her favorite resources with us this month – check them out below in Debbie’s own words… Thanks, Debbie!
You Gotta Love this Writing (YGLTW) with Debbie Ohi
The Magic Words: Writing Great Books For Children and Young Adults by Cheryl B. Klein
Cheryl Klein draws on 15 years of experience as an editor to provide this excellent overview of the writing, editing and publication process. I keep a copy of The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults above my desk and pull it out frequently. No matter where I open up the book, I get inspired! Highly recommended.
This is a fantastic online learning platform. I’ve used Lynda to learn all kinds of software that help me in my career, including Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Pro. There are many different types of learning videos, not just for software skills. Make sure you check with your local library; as a Toronto Library cardholder, I get free access to all of Lynda’s videos as well as the exercise files. Note: Lynda will be rebranded as LinkedIn Learning later this year.
StoryStorm: 30 Story Ideas in 31 Days
Formerly known as Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo), StoryStorm is a “month-long story brainstorming event.” The challenge is to create 30 story ideas in 30 days. Unlike NaNoWriMo, you don’t have to write an entire manuscript (though you can if you want to, of course!). My first solo picture book WHERE ARE MY BOOKS?, started as an idea generated in Tara Lazar’s annual challenge.
The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is an international professional organization for authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults. I received my first children’s book contract as a direct result of attending an SCBWI conference. The site is a wealth of valuable information and opportunities for writers and illustrators of all levels of experience. If you live in Canada, you should also check out CANSCAIP: the Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers.
Scrivener and Ulysses
I use Scrivener and Ulysses on my Mac and iOS devices to write. I’m currently using Scrivener for my picture book projects and Ulysses for my middle grade novels as well as short-form writing, like this post. Because I travel a lot, I like these apps because they easily sync across all my devices and I can therefore write anywhere.
I would also like to humbly offer my own Inkygirl as a useful resource. Inkygirl is about reading, writing and illustrating books for young people, and has been in Writer’s Digest annual list of Top Websites For Writers for many years now. I also have a special section with templates and advice for picture book creators, and a FAQ with answers to frequently asked questions.
For past editions and more resources for your children’s writing and publishing endeavors, check out our YGLTW page.
Debbie lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband Jeff. She loves fountain pens, cupcakes, miniature food and doodling. Her newest book is I’m Worried, a sequel to NY Times Notable I’m Bored and I’m Sad, written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Debbie. Debbie posts about reading, writing and illustrating children’s books at Inkygirl.com. You can find out more about Debbie and her work at DebbieOhi.com as well as on Twitter at @inkyelbows and Instagram at @inkygirl.
Photo: Annie Truuvert (Instagram: @annietruuvert)