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Whether you’re traditionally published, self-published or still trying, the pressure to promote yourself has never been greater. We’re exhorted to “get out there and build a platform” via social media and word of mouth. But while some authors manage this transition gracefully, there are others who undergo a Jekyll and Hyde transformation, turning into publicity-hungry monsters. Read more »Add a Comment
The "Witch Castle" adventure is really just picking up. King Bronty and Prince Podoee have encountered some scary witches and are being pursued into the dark, ancient hallways of the creepy, old fortress.
I hope you enjoy this blog. I truly enjoy making "King Bronty"! "King Bronty" is drawn on paper then transferred to bristol board using tracing paper and a carbon-like paper. The transferred drawing is then inked in lack lines with either ink and a brush or a brush pen or a Sharpie marker.
Next, I use combinations of Crayola Markers, Pitt Artist's Markers, Prismacolor Markers, gouache paint and colored pencils. Then, of course, I scan each page, re-size it and post the strip for you to enjoy!
Please use the little PayPal button below to support "King Bronty" with any amount you wish.
This is the cover of a webcomic that I put together from the artwork of kids in a cartooning class at the New London Maritime Museum where I was the instructor. I drew the building, which is supposed to represent the old Customs House which houses the museum, and each of the kids in the class contributed the various details that I combined and colored in the computer. I don't know if the kids learned anything, but I learned a lot.
#BookADay: CIRCUS MIRANDUS by Cassie Beasley ( Dial Books for Young Readers, June 2015). Finished this middle grade book on the weekend. It was one of those experiences where I was enjoying the book soooo much that I began reading slower when I got to the last few chapters because I DIDN'T WANT IT TO END. This would make a fantastic read aloud.
I was also lucky enough to meet Cassie at Nerd Camp in June. She's so easygoing and friendly, plus drew me a picture of an elephant butt! She says it's the only thing she knows how to draw. grin emoticon I keep her drawing in the front of my copy of her book.
Michelle Knudsen is a New York Times best-selling author of more than 40 books for young readers, including the picture book Library Lion (illustrated by Kevin Hawkes), the middle-grade fantasy novels The Dragon of Trelian and The Princess of Trelian, and the young adult novel Evil Librarian.
This book earned her the 2015 Sid Fleischman Award for Humor.
"For writers of humorous fiction, life is a tough room," Paul Fleischman said in presenting the award. "Sense of humor varies as wildly as taste in food."
He called Michelle's book a "frothy delight" that has entranced readers. And then he presented her with a set of keys to an alternate universe where humor is as respected as it should be.
She spoke of how much it meant to her to hear from former Sid Fleischman Award winner Alan Silberberg, who reassured her she didn't need to be funny onstage (she was, though—wonderfully so).
When she started EVIL LIBRARIAN it was as a break from another book, and she didn't know it would be funny. "Once I realized I had the start of a story that was funny, I started to panic that it had to be funny all the way through."
Her mentor Tim Wynne Jones told her to stop trying to think about being funny, and just to write the story, which is about friendships and musical theater and demons (and an evil librarian).
Michelle expressed thanks to the SCBWI and a large crew of supportive family, friends, and professional colleagues—as well as to Stephen Sondheim and his hilarious disturbing musical "Sweeney Todd."
One of the coolest things about attending the SCBWI Summer Conference is that when you're wowed by a faculty member's breakout session – if you time it right – you can go to their other session as well. To dig deeper. To learn more. So, after being wowed by Jordan's breakout session on Voice, I attended (and here blog) his second breakout session, on Revision...
Jordan Brown is an executive editor with the imprints Walden Pond Press and Balzer + Bray at HarperCollins Children's Books.
The room is packed, every seat filled, people sitting on the floor.
Jordan starts us out the way he starts out when creating an editorial letter for a book he's editing. He aims to define the core of the manuscript.
The core is three important qualities:
1. A central element of the story to which all readers can ideally relate - the universal. 2. What is the most formative experience of your young character's life? That's what your book should be about. 3. Something your character chooses, or has agency.
He illustrates the core of the manuscript with Suzanne Collins' "The Hunger Games":
1. The concept is survival. 2. The most formative experience of Katniss's life is being in the Hunger Games. 3. It's her choice. She volunteers to save her sister.
It's these core concepts that Jordan uses to ground his revision notes, to make sure he and the author share a vision of what the book is.
He walks us through his five principles of revision. I'll share one of them.
Character Drives Plot
You want your plot to ask the right questions of your character: 1. What does my character want? 2. What are the stakes for my character? What happens if she doesn't get what she wants? 3. What complicates things. Why can't the character get what they want?
As full as the room is, Jordan's speech is still more full of great content, tips and examples. He ends with his explaining how to know if your book is ready... or if it's not ready.
A final note:
Jordan reminds us that our manuscripts don't have to be perfect, that
"As editors, we're not acquiring your pages. We're acquiring the vision they represent."
And revision is the way to get our books to match our vision.
We Need Diverse Books™team members Miranda Paul and Nicola Yoon presented an enormously informational session on writing outside of your own diversity. Paul, who is married to a black African man, wished for more books featuring characters that looked like her biracial family—particularly when her daugher questioned why so many books featuring characters that looked like her were about slavery. Yoon also comes from a biracial family and shared her concern. Here are a few things to think about when writing outside of your own race, background, experience:
• Honest Reflection. Consider your own motivations, biases, ignorances for writing a particular story. What is your connection to the topic?
Identity experts with whom you might work with or co-author a book. They can help you to realize things you didn't realize you don't know.
Make research trips, take notes, watch, listen (Cavet: You are still an outsider at this phase)
Be honest with your reader, explain literary choices, share your research process, extend beyond the book
• Tell the truth Write characters, not caricatures. If you’re writing a stereotype, you’re not telling the truth. All Asians are not good with math. All black girls aren’t sassy. People are complicated, create complex characters. Know what makes your character tick— What do they love? What do they want
• Diversify your life Include more types of people in your own life, it will not only make you a better writer, it will make you a better person.
Rachelle wrote this about herself: Rachelle Meyer was born in the state of Texas and spent most of her childhood with her nose in a book. Reading became the wellspring for her continuing passions in life: drawing, storytelling and traveling. She graduated with a degree in Studio Art from the University of Texas at Austin and then spent eight years in New York City working as a graphic artist and designer. She has since moved to Europe and launched a successful career as an illustrator, specializing in children's books and editorial interpretations. Her talents have been used to interpret the work of contemporary best-selling authors such as Dave Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius), Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveler's Wife) and Nick Ortner (The Tapping Solution). She also writes and illustrates her own picture books and graphic novels. She volunteers as the International Illustrator Coordinator for SCBWI. She now lives in Amsterdam with her English husband, her Dutch son, and her cranky old New York cat.
Come, let me take your hand. (Wow. That is cold. We’ll talk about your circulation issues later.) We both know what needs to happen, and I’m here to help you do it.
Take a deep breath and repeat after me: “I am a writer.”
I can’t hear you, my little petunia. Try a-gain. Whisper it, if that helps. “I am a writer.”
See? I knew you could say it. (Do your hands always get this clammy?) Now, eat your cookie.
Earlier this summer I was at a conference where I met dozens of new writer kin and what ghasted my flabber was that several of these real writers (not dabblers or sometimers–the actual writing writer variety–with an agent no less!) were reluctant to call themselves a writer.
Now, I know the reasons for this reluctance are legion . . .
I’m “pre-published,” so I feel like an imposter. Writers are people who write. Authors are writers who are published. If you write novels/picture books/articles/manuscripts or copy of any kind, you, my darlin’, are a writer. If you’ve spent years thinking about/intending to/wanting to but never really writing, then sorry, you’re probably right not to call yourself a writer. You’re more of a writer in waiting. And that’s okay too.
I want to avoid the inevitable questions/unwelcome comments/unsolicited advice. You don’t want to be asked, “Where can I buy your book?” (if you don’t have one yet or it’s gone out of print). You don’t want to hear, “You’re going to be rich and famous! You’re going to be the next Harry . . .” you know the rest. Don’t deny who you are because you’re shy about silly, innocent, well-meaning questions or comments. Those will morph over time, but they won’t go away. Learn to nod and smile. You’re cool. You can handle this.
I don’t want the pressure. You know what? Maybe it’s not a bad thing. Instead of pressure, maybe let’s think of it as motivation. Show the world you’re for reals.
I’m not worthy of the title. Do you need a hard pinch? Stop that silliness right now. You love words. You care about craft. You’re willing to spend hours in isolation to revise and polish. You seek feedback. You take risks. You spend dollars you could devote to shoe-shopping so you can go to workshops to improve your skills. Heck, if you work any harder, you’re going to be OVER-worthy. You can wear the title of writer with pride. You’re stone cold legit.
I’m afraid I’ll be asked to perform an emergency tracheotomy. No, no, lamb chop. That’s what might happen if you say you’re a doctor. Stick with writer. No incisions needed.
You recognize your reluctance. Now, acknowledge your fear. Then do the right thing anyway. Come on out. Say it loud and proud–I am a WRITER!
Enjoy that feeling of empowerment. Your bravery will be rewarded. And, yes, of course, you can have a cookie.
The real things haven’t changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong. ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder
The surprising problem arising in our culture is that good, active, creative reading is on the decline.
I'm not sure to what extent this isn't actually just another facet of the perennial problem/complaint, but, hey, I'm always up for some support of 'creative', careful, and engaged reading
So I'm certainly on board with her conclusion:
Let's not stop reading the kind of books that keep teaching us to read.
Poster art for the Princeton Children's Book Festival.
While I shudder at the thought of summer being over, I wanted to share dates for some exciting events I have coming up this fall. (OK, take a look below and forget that I just made a reference to any time after summer!)
In The Sun Henry Akubuiro has a Q & A with Tade Ipadeola, NNLG laureate: I have no time for literary zombies -- which is certainly a nice headline.
Admirable that he's translated (well, hmmm ... "more of 'traduction' in the sense of what translation means in a Romance language such as French. It was a whim" ...) Auden into Yoruba -- and disappointing that they're still:
unpublished translations of Daniel Fagunwa Yoruba classical novels, into English The Divine Cryptograph [Aditu] and The Pleasant Potentate of Ibudo [Ireke Onibudo].
Newbery-winning author of THE CROSSOVER, Kwame Alexander, delivered a riveting final keynote for #LA15SCBWI. Using a poetry-slam style of call-and-response, he had the audience bopping along with him, interactively, throughout. His keynote, appropriately entitled, #Basketball rules, ended with an uproarious standing ovation. What a way to end #LA15SCBWI!
Candace Fleming is the author of over thirty-two books for children, ranging from picture books to middle grade fiction to award-winning biographies. Her most recent, THE FAMILY ROMANOV, is the winner of the Golden Kite for nonfiction.
If it was up to Steve Mooser next year's major blockbuster would be this book.
SCBWI is an organization that changed Candace's life. She joined twenty years ago. After joining she headed to her first conference, unpublished and with manuscripts in hand. There she met Anne Schwartz who she has now had a long working relationship with.
With THE FAMILY ROMANOV, Candace had many challenges which included the time and setting, a whole lot to tell, Russian history, characters who seemed boring. How would she make it all work? After more than seven drafts, she finished the book. With the need to escape, she went to see the movie Philomena, and in that film her biggest doubt about her own book was highlight:
Russian history, who is interested in that?
Candace thanks the SCBWI for acknowledging the book with Golden Kite for nonfiction and affirming, that yes, people are interesting.
Here’s where I finally release what’s left of our SDCC audio content…as a follow-up to last week’s set of DC and Marvel Television interviews, here are our chats on the animated side of things including discussions with Dan Harmon, Justin Roiland, Bruce Timm, Andrea Romano, Ike Barinholtz, Seth Meyers, and more! Additionally, here are the audio […]