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Archive for the ‘Writing Tips’ Category

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Happy Birthday, Maine! + #WritingChallenge


Celebrating #Maine’s Bicentennial through Poetry

Maine officially celebrates its 200th Birthday on March 15, 2020! Find out more about “The Pine Tree State” and help us celebrate all year long with a haiku of your own. #WritingChallenge

Did you know?

Maine (nicknamed The Pine Tree State) remained a province of the Massachusetts Bay Colony when America declared its independence from Britain on July 4, 1776. At that time Maine was not one of America’s original thirteen colonies because it had never been granted a royal charter from Great Britain. It would be decades after the American Revolution and the signing of The Declaration of Independence (summarizing the colonists’ motivation for seeking independence) before Maine gained official statehood.

The Eastern white pine tree helped fuel the region’s economy in an era when shipbuilding and lumbering reigned supreme. The value of those pines actually provided a spark for the American Revolution. Massachusetts didn’t want to lose any of those pine profits it gained after the war, while Mainers struggled for political and economic independence. Maine officially celebrates its Bicentennial on March 15, 2020.

“A nature-filled land that enlivens the senses and soothes the soul—to me, Maine is poetry.”
–Bette A. Stevens

The Power of Poetry

How Readers & Writers of All Ages Benefit from Poetry

  • Improves Verbal Skills & Memory
  • Enhances Cognitive Function
  • Develops Empathy & Insight
  • Encourages Creativity

Why Haiku…

Inspired by the beauty and bounty of my home state, I write poetry in many forms; but I chose haiku for My Maine to offer readers a collection of story poems and photo snapshots of the unique land I know and love.

I invite you to join me as I celebrate #Maine2020 by submitting one of your favorite photos taken in “The Pine Tree State” and writing a haiku too! I’ll be publishing submissions here on my blog throughout 2020. Simply email me at bettestevens@tds.net SUBJECT: “Maine Bicentennial Haiku.”

How to Write Haiku…

 

 

A Peek Inside the Collection

~Excerpts from “Spring Awakenings”~

 

March shakes the remnants
Of sleep from wintery boughs
White confetti swirls

Granite boulders rise
Above the winter mantle
Midway the meltdown

Dark mask shrouds the land
Soaking downpour foreshadows
Season’s renewal

Rivers spill over
While ice jams—slowly melting
Weep upon their beds

Pot holes irk drivers
As roadways turn to washboards
Kids giggle in back

Hills and vales exult
Rivers and streams sing arias
Mud season arrives

Verdant shimmering
Emerald fields bursting forth
Souls rise from slumber

Sunbeams composing
Springtime melodies, humming
Tapping to the tunes

About the Author

Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of eight. Stevens lives in central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies (milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat). Stevens has written articles for ECHOES, The Northern Maine Journal of Rural Culture. As of July 2019,  Stevens has self-published five books and has a second poetry collection on the drawing board. Find out more about the author and her books at https://www.amazon.com/author/betteastevens

 

Contact the author at DBS Publishing to order author-signed copies of her books or to schedule a Poetry Event tailored to meet the needs and interests of your school, community group, company or organization, or simply to find out more.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I look forward to hearing from you. (Comment Section Below)

“Happy reading & writing poetry!” 

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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Celebrate #Maine2020 through Poetry


Happy Birthday Maine!

Did you know?

Maine (nicknamed The Pine Tree State) was initially a province of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In fact, it was decades after the American Revolution before Maine gained official statehood. The Eastern white pine tree helped fuel the region’s economy in an era when shipbuilding and lumbering reigned supreme. The value of those pines actually provided a spark for the American Revolution. Massachusetts didn’t want to lose any of those pine profits it gained after the war, while Mainers struggled for political and economic independence. Maine officially celebrates its Bicentennial on March 15, 2020.

“A nature-filled land that enlivens the senses and soothes the soul—to me, Maine is poetry.”
–Bette A. Stevens

The Power of Poetry

How Readers & Writers of All Ages Benefit from Poetry

  • Improves Verbal Skills & Memory
  • Enhances Cognitive Function
  • Develops Empathy & Insight
  • Encourages Creativity

Why Haiku…

Inspired by the beauty and bounty of my home state, I write poetry in many forms; but I chose haiku for My Maine to offer readers a collection of story poems and photo snapshots of the unique land I know and love.

I invite you to join me as I celebrate #Maine2020 by submitting one of your favorite photos taken in “The Pine Tree State” and writing a haiku too! I’ll be publishing submissions here on my blog throughout 2020. Simply email me at bettestevens@tds.net SUBJECT: “Maine Bicentennial Haiku.”

How to Write Haiku…

 

 

A Peek Inside the Collection

~Excerpts from Winter Tales~

Frozen polar winds
Wave the ice crystal scepter
Dawn’s magic appears

Silvery branches
Unveil the old, old folktale
A spellbound story

Pine cones and tassels
Mirrored in moonlight upon
White weighted branches

Chickadees dozing
Nestling, captive to pine boughs
Till dawn sets them free

Shovels and snow plows
Storm’s rook ravings unraveled
Till the next arrives

Soups, stews and chowders
Stories told round the table
Favored winter fare

Silently—Snowfalls
Reign over field and forest
Supremely sovereign

Winter white gemstones
Glistening across meadows
Perfect snowshoe day

About the Author

Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of eight. Stevens lives in central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies (milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat). Stevens has written articles for ECHOES, The Northern Maine Journal of Rural Culture. As of July 2019,  Stevens has self-published five books and has a second poetry collection on the drawing board. Find out more about the author and her books at https://www.amazon.com/author/betteastevens

 

Contact the author at DBS Publishing to order author-signed copies of her books or to schedule a Poetry Event tailored to meet the needs and interests of your school, community group, company or organization, or simply to find out more.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I look forward to hearing from you. (Comment Section Below)

“Happy Reading & Writing Poetry!” 

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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Come Join Us at the All-New Rave Reviews Book Club—#RRBC Best Book Club on the Planet


Happy New Year, followers!  

You’re invited to visit the ALL-NEW RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB at our new location > RaveReviewsBookClub.wordpress.com.
 

  • If you are an author looking for amazing support, #RRBC is the place for you!
  • If you are looking to grow as a writer, #RRBC is the place for you!
  • If you are looking for a community where your peers push for your success just as hard as they push for their own, #RRBC is the place for you! 

When visiting the #RRBC Website, we ask that you #follow our site so that you’re kept up-to-date with all the awesome news that we’ll be sharing in 2020.  
 
If you like what you see after looking around the site, then please, JOIN US!  We’d love to have you!

I’ve been an active member of Rave Reviews Book Club since January 2014 and highly recommend membership to all of my author friends. I’ll be sporting my 6 Year Membership Badge soon… If you’re looking for awesome support as an author, you’ll find it at #RRBC. I call it “The Best Book Club on the Planet.” Come join us—you’ll be glad you did!    ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author 

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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12 Ways to Develop your Child’s Writing Skills


GREAT TIPS from Nicholas Rossis for teachers, parents and adults everywhere! WE CAN ALL CONTRIBUTE to childhood literacy: Developing a child’s writing skills… ~ Bette A. Stevens, https://www.4writersandreaders.com

Nicholas C. Rossis

Getting people — and kids, in particular — to read and write has long been a passion of mine. You may remember my post, Reading Tricks for Kids of Any Age, originally written for Mom’s Favorite Reads.

Well, I recently came across an article by Abigail Elijah of Knowledge Isle with 20 tips for developing your kid’s writing skills which inspired me to write up a new post, this one on the subject of getting your child to write. I hope you find these tips useful!

12 Ways to Develop your Kid’s Writing Skills

helping your child write better - girl writing | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

Seven out of ten children find writing particularly challenging. What can we do to support them and help develop their writing skills?

1. Read

One of the most important things you can do for your kids’ writing skills, is to encourage and develop their passion for reading.

Writing is different than speaking. Abigail…

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Beautiful Borestone—A Maine Haiku & a View from the Mountain too!


“A nature-filled land that enlivens the senses and soothes the soul—to me, Maine is poetry.”
Bette A. Stevens

Seven-year-old Sophie loves to read and listen to poetry! I discovered that about her when I met Sophie and her mom Janet the evening of my book signing, “Celebrating  Maine through Poetry” presentation in October.  Now Sophie loves to write poetry too! 

In fact, Sophie enjoys poetry so much that Janet told me how grateful she was that they had come that night to learn about  the benefits that poetry provides for readers and writers of all ages. The audience even had a chance to practice finding some of the poetic devices I used when writing My Maine, Haiku through the Seasons that evening.

When we talked about the beauty and bounty that Maine has to offer, Janet shared that she had recently taken her children on a day trip to Borestone Mountain. Borestone is a popular hiking spot near the center of the state, with a trailhead located on Mountain Road near Willimantic. Sophie and Janet have captured Borestone beautifully in their haiku! 

Beautiful Borestone

Climbing made it fun
Brilliant trees and pretty lakes
Beautiful Borestone

Haiku by Sophie & Janet

Janet and I have kept in touch by email since the event and I was delighted when she sent me photos she’d taken at Borestone and a haiku that she and Sophie had written together.  Sophie wants to write more poetry! That makes my author/teacher heart sing…

 

Educators, librarians, community groups and organizations:

Maine author and retired teacher Bette A. Stevens shares her love of Maine, of poetry, of nature and of reading and writing with children and adults of all ages. Stevens is currently booking presentations for Spring 2020 in the central Maine area as “The Pine Tree State” launches its Bicentennial celebrations. Stevens’s presentations are tailored to your classroom/group needs. Poetry is powerful and its benefits are invaluable. For more information contact the author at bettestevens@tds.net SUBJECT: POETRY—Group Presentation.

Find out more about Maine author Bette A. Stevens

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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From Kids to Corporate Executives—Everyone Benefits from Poetry!


An evening of poetry

I spent a lovely evening in October at The Newport Cultural Center in Newport, Maine reading from My Maine: Haiku through the Seasons (Poetry & Photography Collection by Bette A. Stevens), chatting with the audience about Maine and about poetry before signing books. Whether writing a paragraph, a poem or a book, preparing marketing materials, deciding how to format a page or publication, selecting images or designing book covers—even when preparing a presentation for a group, organization or classroom—writers/authors are researchers at heart. Welcome to a brief recap of “Celebrate Maine through Poetry” night.

A wonderful evening chatting about “MAINE” & “POETRY” with old friends and new friends. We talked about the benefits of reading and writing poetry for people in all age groups and professions, discovered some tricks for picking the perfect word whether writing poetry or prose. The audience was amazing at it! 

The Pine Tree State

Did you know?

Maine (nicknamed The Pine Tree State) was initially a province of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In fact, it was decades after the American Revolution before Maine gained official statehood. The Eastern white pine tree helped fuel the region’s economy in an era when shipbuilding and lumbering reigned supreme. The value of those pines actually provided a spark for the American Revolution. Massachusetts didn’t want to lose any of those pine profits it gained after the war while Mainers struggled for political and economic independence. Maine will officially celebrate its Bicentennial on March 15, 2020.

A Peek Inside the Collection

The Pine Tree State

Maine pines and people
Survivors, resilient souls
Standing tall and proud

Pragmatic figures
Independence their calling
Rugged yet limber

Growing where they choose
While rising ever higher
Strong arms branching out

Tempering spirits
Amidst the boundless medley
Solid, steady, proud

The Power of Poetry

How Readers & Writers of All Ages Benefit 

  • Improves Verbal Skills & Memory
  • Enhances Cognitive Function
  • Develops Empathy & Insight
  • Encourages Creativity

I’ll be elaborating on all four of these benefits in future posts. Plus you’ll get to meet some of my old and new friends who are benefiting from the power of reading and  writing  poetry. 

Why Pick Poetry?

Inspired by the beauty and bounty of my home state, I write poetry in many forms; but I chose haiku for My Maine to offer readers a collection of story poem snapshots into the unique place I know and love.

“A nature-filled land that enlivens the senses and soothes the soul—to me, Maine is poetry.” –Bette A. Stevens

About the Author

Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of eight. Stevens lives in central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies (milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat). Stevens has written articles for ECHOES, The Northern Maine Journal of Rural Culture. As of July 2019,  Stevens has self-published five books and has a second poetry collection on the drawing board. Find out more about the author and her books at https://www.amazon.com/author/betteastevens

Contact the author at DBS Publishing to order author-signed copies of her books or to schedule a Poetry Event tailored to meet the needs and interests of your school, community group, company or organization or simply to find out more about it.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I look forward to hearing from you. (Comment Section Below)

“Happy Reading & Writing Poetry!” 

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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Have Fun Writing Haiku & Get the Kids Writing Too!


Write a Halloween Haiku & Get the Kids Writing Too!

Black Cat HALLOWEEN Haiku BAS 2019

Midnight—our fabulous, furry feline—inspired me to write BLACK CAT, a Halloween haiku (Haiku: a Japanese-inspired three-line: 5-7-5 syllable poetry form) and design a poster to go with the poem. Kids love illustrating their poetry. This Halloween post is shared in loving memory of our amazing Miss Midnight. 

What’s inspiring you this Halloween?
Brainstorm your list and get writing.
Have fun—don’t forget to get the kids writing too!

Here are some Writer’s Tricks (literary devices found in every writer’s toolbox) I used to create BLACK CAT. These tools can set a mood— they make writing and reading memorable and fun.  Check them out and see if you can discover where I used them in my poem.

Read on to find out more about these literary devices.

BLACK CAT

Black cat waits, watches…
Stalking tricksters in their webs.
Spiders are her treats!

© Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

Three Writer’s Tricks (Literary devices) used in writing poetry and prose

Assonance
Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in nearby words.

Consonance
Another literary device used by writers and poets is consonance—repetitive sounds produced by consonants within a sentence or phrase. This repetition often takes place in quick succession.

Alliteration
You put your alliteration tool to work when words that start with the same sound are used close together in a phrase or sentence. The sound is usually a consonant and the words don’t have to always be right next to one another.

Finding “just the right words”
Abundant writing resources are available in print as well as online. Listed below are the two resources I had readily available in the classroom for my students (Grades 4-8). Paperbacks are inexpensive enough to have multiple copies on hand, and in my opinion they are indispensable.

  • The Scholastic Rhyming Dictionary by Sue Young
  • Webster’s Thesaurus for Students by Merriam-Webster

                        Happy Writing and Reading Haiku

                                    & Happy Halloween!

                     ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator

 

  • Find out more about how to write haiku and other poetry at Reference.Com

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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Write a Summer Limerick & Get the Kids Writing Too!


HAVE FUN WRITING LIMERICKS

Monarch Butterfly LIMERICK 2 bas 2017

Summertime is fun time! And with ‘back to school’ just around the corner, it’s a great time to write limericks and get the kids writing too…

Whether you’re a writer, a reader, a teacher, a parent or simply want to share the love of reading and writing, get the kids together and give “Limericks” a try. You’ll be glad you did!

Some of my favorite things about summer are butterflies, long lazy summer days, gardens and sunshine. I love to sit on the porch with my camera at the ready just in case I spot an amazing monarch or any of our sensational butterfly friends dropping by to enjoy the view. So far this year I’ve spotted twelve monarchs and dozens of other butterflies too—and managed to capture several of these exquisite creatures with my Canon “PowerShot.”

Butterflies are very sensitive to the environment and with their natural habitat areas being increasingly eroded and with significantly greater use of chemicals, our butterfly population is in decline. Planting and cultivating milkweed (Monarch caterpillars need milkweed) and other blooms that our pollinators need for survival is one way that I can help.

Limerick (poetic definition)

[lim-er-ik]
noun
1. a kind of humorous verse of five lines, in which the first, second, and fifth lines rhyme with each other, and the third and fourth lines, which are shorter, form a rhymed couplet.

 

My limerick is about one of the monarch butterflies (captured by my camera) that fluttered through my garden so far this summer. I had fun writing two verses to tell my monarch’s story. Check out the link at the end of the post to find out more about poetic limericks.

A Monarch Butterfly Limerick

by Bette A. Stevens

There once was a monarch so fair

She fluttered and flit through the air

’Twas milkweed she needed

And so she proceeded

To search through the garden with care

 

Monarch  knew she had nothing to fear

Her flutters would soon disappear

When milkweed she spotted

Her heart was besotted

Depositing monarch eggs there

 

WRITING POETRY WITH CHILDREN

Tips & Tools

When teaching (grades 4-8), I found that writing poems and sharing them was an exciting way get children of all ages hooked on writing. I must admit it—limericks are so much fun to write and to share! In the classroom we learn about using some of the tools in our writer’s tool box—literary devices like assonance (repeating vowel sounds) and consonance (repeating consonant sounds) to create a musical message. And of course, we had Scholastic rhyming dictionaries and thesauruses close at hand. It’s always exciting to discover alternative words (synonyms) that have just the right sounds and syllables to perfect our poems.

Whether you’re a writer, a reader, a teacher, a parent or simply want to share the love of reading and writing, get the kids together and give it a try. You’ll be glad you did!

 

Click the link to find out all about it How to Write a Limerick http://www.poetry4kids.com/blog/lessons/how-to-write-a-limerick/

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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MY MAINE Coming Soon…Poetry for All Seasons!


My Maine is coming soon…

My Maine, Haiku through the Seasons (A poetry and photography collection) by Bette A. Stevens is scheduled for release June 2019.

MY MAINE Wandering through woods 2 COMING SOON

Happy Spring, Summer, Autumn & Winter!

Fields and forest greens have awakened and fruit trees are finally in bloom at the Farmstead in central Maine. This photograph was taken at Moose Point park in Searsport, Maine. The haiku in the photo is from “Spring Awakenings”—MY MAINE—my poetry and photography collection scheduled for release June 2019. The collection includes 49 of my photographs along with 150 haiku poems that take readers on a seasonal journey through the Maine I know and love. The book includes a haiku tribute, “Maine Pines and People,” plus interesting facts and symbols from The Pine Tree State.

Wherever you are, whatever the season, I invite you to get outdoors and get inspired. Join the fun and write a seasonal haiku about what’s inspiring you. It’s as easy as 1-2-3… You’ll find the definition and descriptive details of writing haiku below. If the kids are around, make it a family affair—they’ll love it!

Pine Cone _ Tassels CROP for Digital Books BAS MAY 2019

My Maine: Haiku through the Seasons

(Excerpt from “Spring Awakenings”)

Sunbeams composing
Springtime melodies, humming
Tapping to the tunes

Beguiling blossoms
Address the invitations
Springtime Reception

Wandering through woods
Soft leaf carpet, rippling brook
No schedule to keep

© 2019 Bette A. Stevens (from MY MAINE, Haiku through the Seasons)

HAIKU

noun hai·ku ˈhī-(ˌ)kü
  1. :  an unrhymed verse form of Japanese origin having three lines containing usually five, seven, and five syllables respectively; also :  a poem in this form usually having a seasonal reference — compare tanka

Discover more about how to write poetry and prose:

[EXPLORE BETTE’S BLOG]

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4 Reasons To Use Action Beats When Writing


111-4-reasons-to-use-action-beats-when-writingWRITING TIPSWant to break up boring dialogue, show and not tell, stop info-dumping your setting, and sneak in character description? Check out K.M. Allen’s blog post! ~Bette A. Stevens 4writersandreaders

K.M. Allan

If you’re wondering what an action beat is, you’re not alone. Not too long ago, I didn’t know what it was either.

I’ve since learned it’s an action your character is doing while they’re talking.

Yeah, it’s not exactly an earth-shattering revelation and is something you’ve probably been writing naturally anyway, it’s just now you know there’s an actual name for it.

Not only does this writing trick have a name, it also has four good reasons why you should be working actions beats into your dialogue.

4 Reasons To Use Action Beats When Writing

1. Action Beats Break Up The Boring

When an action beat pairs with your dialogue, it breaks up the usual he said/she said monotony of dialogue tags.

Dialogue tag:
“Hi,” Jenny said.

Action beat:
“Hi.” Jenny lifted her hand, waving her fingers in Carla’s face.

Action beats will also break up long passages of dialogue, puts…

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