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Friday, February 3, 2012

The INTERNET Magic – Harness it for GOOD!



I have always scribbled stories. However, none of them became published until after I became a Teacher’s Aide and discovered the Internet. I began telling classes tales of my Aussie homeland, and their weird and wonderful critters. I had done this with my own kids, so they wouldn’t forget their homeland. A teacher suggested I write them down, as I had a tendency to change the endings, and kids noticed this very fast.

This was when computers were just beginning to be in homes. I nagged until my husband agreed to buy a computer – all 1 ½ gigs of HD! I went online and discovered a really great site for children’s writers. As luck would have it, several talented and generous hearted writers, now well published themselves, took me under their wing. I learned the writing rules. I learned patience. I became determined to become published. I began to value the benefits of rewriting my manuscripts and reading those of others. Oh, my, what pearls I learned from reading my talented critique group’s manuscripts. Yet rewrites and rejections still filled my days for a l-o-n-g time. Then I formed a private online critique group with other like-minded members, and my writing took a turn for the more publishable. YEA.

A friend recommended me to a publisher, and they accepted my first rhyming picture book. Eventually, this became Wild and Wonderful, a 7 book series that offered fun facts about animals from the US and Australia. Each book had a different illustrator from a different state, or part of the world. Finding them was as easy as asking on my writing list if there were any illustrators willing to give their career a boost by illustrating my books. You could never do that today, and expect wonderful illustrations for a cut of the proceeds. This was early days, and these were eBooks.

Kangaroo Clues, the first in the series, was illustrated by an artist in Turkey. He spoke no English and did not own a computer. How was this possible you ask? Again I have to thank the Internet. An online friend, also Turkish, and famous for her own children’s books, suggested I use her illustrator, Mustafa Delioglu. She sent me some of the books he had illustrated for her, and his work was awesome. His other art hung in galleries over Europe. I shouted, YES!

This friend acted as translator for both of us. Talk about a marathon effort for a friend. Fortunately Mustafa lived near her, so she went back-and- forth with my e-mails, and his replies to them, for months. Almost a year went past before the illustrations were completed and the book finally published. I was thrilled with the results. His magical illustrations came together with my rhymes in a delightful marriage of fun reading. It was information kids could enjoy, while learning about Aussie animals.

Instead of large land masses surrounded by oceans, the Internet has given us all a chance to become closer, learn about each other’s customs, and celebrate different people with different talents. I find this particularly true with Manuscript Critiquing. Clients come to me from all over the globe. We chat, I help them write tight and terrific books, and we share details of our lives and our countries.

One lady from Latvia e-mailed me every day about her life, her writing, and her country. I replied in like fashion – the difference from my end being, that I corrected her English in MY replies to her. At the end of a year her English had improved out of sight, and I had a firm friend from a part of the world I had never thought about before I became a fan of the Internet.

The Internet is the future: brimming with opportunities for improved lifestyles, good works and aiding others. Stopping those who scheme to use it for vice and other dangerous endeavors must be our current priority.

Margot Finke is an author of 11 children’s books. Originally from Down-under, she now lives in Oregon with her husband, and close to their three grown kids and grandkids. Margot also runs a Manuscript Critique Service, where tight and terrific writing is the name of the game. Her website offers many pages of help for beginning writers, plus links to her books, video readings, reviews, and where to purchase.

Website: http://www.margotfinke.com/  
Hook Kids on Reading: http://hookkidsonreading.blogspot.com/  
Margot’s Magic Carpet: http://perfectmagiccarpet.blogspot.com/  

11 comments:

Janet Ann Collins said...

What an interesting post! Unfortunately it was much easier to use the internet for things like that back when there was less competition.

Kai Strand said...

Great story, Margot. Thanks for sharing. I agree that the internet is a fabulous tool that opens the world to us all!

Bill Kirk said...

Hmmmm.... I remember our first computer that I was certain had more capacity (2 whole megabytes) than we would ever use. And, of course, I knew it would last as long as our first toaster (over 25 years) before we would have to replace it. Those were the days. Thanks for the great post Margot. You are a bundle of inspiration.

Janet Ann Collins said...

Yes, Bill, I remember thinking I'd never fill up my first floppy disc no matter how long I lived.

Nancy Stewart said...

Lovely post, Margot. I, too, am besotted by all things technology and am still surprised by my attitude!

This was such fun to read, and I'm so glad you shared. Thanks!

Donna J. Shepherd said...

What a fun story, Margot!

Connie Arnold said...

Thanks for sharing the enjoyable post. The internet certainly has come a long way and opened up the world in a new way. My grandchildren like your rhyming, fun stories, Margot!

Susan J. Berger said...

Great reading. Thanks, Margot.

Susan J. Berger said...

Great reading. Thanks, Margot.

BarbaraB said...

Margot, this is an inspirational post. Thanks for sharing your beginnings; I didn't get into the internet that early. I'm thankful for the wonderful people I've met and the opportunities I've been able to take advantage of.

Susanne Drazic said...

Hi, Margot. Interesting post. I wouldn't even touch our first computer or the internet for the first month we had it. Was afraid I'd push the wrong button and mess it up. Now I'm the one who uses it the most.

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