ABOUT ANNIE’S SNAILS
Annie loves her pet snails. She makes them a special home in an ice-cream container and gives them names. Annie and her snails have lots of adventures together. They play spelling games and make trails. Annie thinks the snails will be very happy living in an ice-cream container in her cubby. But will they?
THE INSPIRATION BEHIND ANNIE’S SNAILS
The idea for Annie’s Snails was sparked by a chance comment my husband made about how granddaughter Amelie loved having snails slide along her arms and legs when she was little. The story grew from there.
It was fun adapting this idea to meet the guidelines of Walker Stories. This series is specially designed for beginning readers who are moving from picture books to chapter books. There are three highly illustrated chapters in one book and each chapter is around 600 words. Sometimes when I edited, it felt a bit like doing a new form of haiku!
As a child I always loved animal stories and longed for a pet. We lived on a main road so a dog was out of the question, but I always enjoyed finding small creatures in the back yard. Annie’s Snails touches on this interest and also celebrates the power of imagination. Working with an illustrator is an exciting part of writing for younger readers. Gabriel Evan’s lovely line drawings have added movement and life to my story and I’ve really enjoyed seeing how Gabriel brought my characters to life. I hope young readers enjoy this story about Annie and her Snails. And apologies to parents who may no longer be allowed to dispose of these interesting garden creatures. Since writing this story, I now put my garden snails into the green recycle bin and wish them good luck when the truck comes…
- Just do it. Write whenever you can; as well as setting aside uninterrupted writing time, print a page or two and take it with you to work/other jobs. Edit between appointments. You can rewrite and polish a paragraph in 5 minutes. And those beautiful paragraphs soon add up to chapters and novels.
- Always have a notebook/paper in your bag, in the car, beside the bed. When ideas arrive jot them down. Most of my books started this way.
- Do a lot of drafts. I do dozens – even for picture books. Read each version aloud so that you hear the rhythm and sound of the story.
- Share ‘almost completed’ drafts of your stories with trusted writer friends and readers the age of your intended audience. Listen to their advice, be brave and make changes, but also remember that only you can write your story.
- Don’t send your work to a publisher too early. They are busy. You may only get one shot at impressing them. It’s hard to be patient when you think it’s done, but whenever I make myself set aside a story for a couple of weeks, I always see things to fix.
If you have a question for Dianne, feel free to ask it in the comments section of this blog.