Laying It All Out

I write the words, but it’s the art department that really makes an article pop. The layout process is endlessly fascinating, and this month I’ve seen three layouts that are great examples of the process.

Early in the month, ASK sent me the layout for my upcoming article about aluminum. There had been a few tweaks, but the structure was largely what I’d pictured as I was writing it. (Of course, the ASK art department had done its usual amazing job.)

Then mid-month, Highlights emailed the layout for an article I’d written about fear. Because it was a commissioned article, I’d been given a template to work from when I received the assignment, so I knew exactly what it would look like. Except when I opened the PDF, it had completely changed! Even though the original template had been Highlights’ design, they’d decided on a new direction. Still my words, and still a great article, but now in a completely different structure.

Finally, last week my ASK editor sent the layout for an article I’ve done about prosthetics. There’s so much information in the article that she thinks it’ll be easier for kids to read if the article is broken into text boxes, or what she refers to as a “wireframe”. In this case, she wanted my input and requested I do some revision to help her restructure. She’s absolutely right about the new structure improving the article, and I’m in the process of revising right now.

So, three layouts, three different—and equally great—experiences. That’s part of why I love writing for magazines…it’s always something new and unexpected!

“Making It in Magazines” talk

This past Tuesday, February 27th, I was thrilled to be able to speak to a group of writers in Columbus, Ohio at the Central Southern Ohio SCBWI chapter. I took them through why they might want write for children’s magazines, where to find submission information, what it’s like to write for a children’s magazine, and gave them tips on how to be successful. I had a great time, and I hope they did, too!

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And I’m excited to be doing it again at the SCBWI meeting in Cincinnati on May 21! 7pm at the Sharonville Public Library

Snacking During the Holidays?

A couple of fun facts as you contemplate holiday treats:

In theory, as long as it’s made with the proper preservatives and stored in an air-tight container, fruit cake can age 25 years and still be edible. I’m thinking you might not be able to tell the difference between fresh and 25-year-old fruit cake?

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And strange-but-true candy cane flavors: bacon, wasabi, pickle, sriracha, and gravy. Really.