Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Perils of Editing

Today, edited
A short memoir in haiku.
My mind is quite fried:

It thinks, 5, 7, 5—
My thoughts now in seventeen 
Syllables—thought Tweets.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Usually, the moment I get back from a conference, I set to writing about it, trying to encapsulate the experience, how amazing it was, gushing. But not this year. I have waited a whole 48 hours because I’ve been busy.

Busy? I was busy before the conference, making the final tweaks on my portfolio, working with my critique partner, getting reprinting done when the first batch was a disaster, running errands, as well as my usual hectic work and life stuff. I was busy for a long time in preparation, and yesterday was my first full day off in about 4 months. So perhaps “busy” is not the right word. Since I got back, I have been flowing.

I am deep in creative flow, in fact. My mind has not stopped firing. I have not stopped working, researching, learning to use Scrivener, brainstorming, planning, writing, and I have progressed both in knowledge and inspiration. I feel as if I have been catapulted forward: by what I learned in workshops, by a nice little bit of success...

Runner-up R.Michelson Galleries Award 2014
 ...but, without any doubt, above all by the energy and warmth I experienced this weekend.

The evening before I left for the conference, I sat waiting for pick-up pizza and writing in my journal. I was so excited to be going. I was SO excited to be in that environment again, and to take the step of presenting my portfolio for the first time (gulp!), and to see all of my friends, most of all. And I wrote, “Tomorrow, I am going home.” And then I did.

And now I have to wait another year to do it again. I don’t really have the words right now—it’s a quiet, happy, very replete feeling I have—so I’ll direct you to the blog of my kid-lit buddy, Ross Cox. He’s already said what I feel most of all, and he's said it far better than I feel capable of right now…

And besides, I’m itching to go back to my manuscript. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

March 17th

I don't know about you, but I'm really a bit over winter. It's funny how you can be doing fine with winter, and it can be treating you fairly well on the whole, and then within the space of a few short days, numerous things go awry. And you haven't got light warm breezes and yellow flowers and the feel of grass beneath your feet to support you as sweep things into shape. (Well, you might be lucky enough to have a few crocuses, but they keep getting covered up with snow.)

And then, goodness gracious, it's St. Patrick's day, and that leprechaun pops in for morning tea, messing with wires and data as these geeky hispter-doofus leprechauns of the twenty-first century tend do. And as the leprechaun skips away and the emails-that-need-answering pour into your inbox at last, and drivers and folks around and even yourself all start to get snarlish, you realize you're at that point. Spring really needs to get here. 

But guess what? It's coming! And even if it might seem impossible that spring will soon be here, I'd like to share some proof. I hope it gives you as much of a lift as it gave me. 

So, following, a few things I saw on my walk.  

skunk cabbage shoots in non-frozen water

milky ice with withered edges

sporing moss, spring moss green

numerous red-winged blackbirds, buzz-trilling in the trees

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

It's about time I said something...

It's March 12th! And I haven't posted since the very start of the year. Where did that time go? And why did it go so swiftly? 

Well, I have been editing up a storm (and we're all storm weary, right?), working with both previous and new clients on projects as diverse as non-fiction for adults, historical biography, fantasy (adult), chick-lit, and my usual fare of YA, middle grade, chapter books, and picture books. I'm also working on interior illustrations for a chapter book due to be published shortly. 

I'm also deep into preparation for the New England SCBWI 2014 conference, working on a few new portfolio pieces, which I'm excited to share with you soon. 

Copyright  ©  Marlo Garnsworthy 2104
Character sketch for one of my new pieces.

Plus, I'm back at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD CE), teaching "Writing for Children's Books" for the spring semester. (And I have absolutely awesome students.)

So I suppose I can be forgiven for not being a very Wordy Birdie here on the blog. 

BUT, I have been blogging over on Editing-Writing-Proofreading, and you can read my latest post on Narrative Structure--The Parts of the Narrative HERE and What's Wrong With My Picture Book? HERE

And SCBWI members, I hope you'll read author and editor Chris Eboch's article in the March/April edition of The Bulletin, in which she talks about the design process for the cover of her latest book The Genie's Gift. You can read more about my process for illustrating the cover HERE

And spring is coming! Cause for celebration. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Happy New Year Offer

To celebrate New Year, 2014, I am offering a 20% discount on any editing and critique services contracted during the month of January. 

Copyright © Marlo Garnsworthy 2013
Applies to services for:

  • Picture books
  • Chapter books
  • Middle grade novels
  • YA
  • Rhyming verse
  • Other manuscripts, including fiction for adults and non-fiction, will be considered, based on suitability. 

Services may include:
  • Developmental/substantive editing
  • Copyediting
  • Proofreading
  • Formatting for submission
  • Critique
  • Editing of query/cover letters


  • 25% will be discounted after calculation regular rate, according to Editorial Freelancers Association rate guidelines, and based on total word count of material to be edited AND a sample from the work to be edited.
  • Must be contracted (including deposit paid) to begin before or on January 31st, 2014*.
*Note: when my January schedule fills (and it will fill quickly), work contracted by January 31st, may be scheduled for a later date, providing I have received a signed contract and deposit by January 31st. 

Click here to contact me.

Wishing you a very Happy New Year from Marlo and Wordy Bird Studio!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014, The Year of [insert intention here]

Do you love New Year as much as I do? It’s my favorite holiday of all. One of my rituals is getting up before dawn and going out to greet the first sunrise of the year. 

6:50 this morning.

Ever since I first understood New Year’s resolutions existed, I have taken this time of year very seriously. My family and friends seem to find it a bit amusing, but accept this little quirk as my Very Important Ritual. It goes like this:
  • Purge and deep clean creative/work space
  • Take some quiet, reflective alone time
  • Buy new journal (chosen by me, and only me!)
  • Write The List

Do you make The List? I'm betting many of you do, too. My List’s structure has evolved over the years, and I no longer make resolutions, which tend to set even a very determined person up for certain failure. After all, a single transgression, one slipup, and you’ve already failed. These years, I make a series of goals for each area of my life: Health & Fitness, Professional, Creative, and so on, depending on what I most hope to grow.

The thing about goals is this: it's incredibly easy to fall short of meeting them. And so, I tend to make BIG goals for the next year, knowing it is somewhat unlikely I will be able to fully complete them in the 12 months I’ve set myself, but feeling I would rather make it partway through a really big goal, than fall short on one that was smaller and possibly less worthy. Do you, like me, allow yourself to start the year dreaming big with a huge sense of hope and possibility? I believe it can carry me through my inevitable slumps in energy, inspiration, and motivation (and also through moment or three when I kick myself for making such big goals that seem so far away. Hah.).


Since I was fourteen and read The Year of Living Dangerously by Christopher J. Koch, I have also named each year. I’ve had The Year of Going Forth, The Year of Simply Living, and The Year of Achieving Greatness! I have a good chuckle as I add this dash of melodrama, but I’m careful to always choose a name that has real meaning. It’s the banner I hope to march under for the next twelve months.

What would be written on your banner for 2014, if you had one? What do you most want to achieve or learn or heal or feel? Have you thought about how to get there, and determined the steps it might realistically take? Do you make resolutions or goals, and if so, do you prefer smaller goals or larger ones?

In 2013, I feel I’ve finally achieved one of my big goals for the last few years—to let go of some fears that were holding me back creatively. And so, 2014, I dub thee... 

The Year of Creating Fearlessly!

Arise 2014 and my writer and illustrator friends, and go forth. May you strive for something close to your heart and work toward your goals boldly, bravely, and fearlessly!