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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Paula Yoo, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. PB challenge, Mixed-Up Files openings, and a new puppy!

I can't believe how busy things have been, but I've been making incredible progress on my MG and PB.  I love finding ways to dig deeper into my manuscripts, and I also love the extra push that challenges give me.

I've been a member of From The Mixed-Up Files...of Middle-Grade Authors since our group started, and am thrilled with the impact our blog has had.  It's wonderful helping to introduce new and beloved older novels to middle-grade lovers.  My must-read stack is always overflowing with incredible books!  If you write MG and love middle-grade books as much as I do, I hope you'll apply for one of the available spots.  Here's the link.  Hurry, because the deadline is tomorrow!

I'm thrilled that the 12 x 12 Picture Book Challenge has inspired me to try to write one new manuscript a month in 2012.  For the past several years, I've always participated in Paula Yoo's NaPiBoWriWee (National Picture Book Writing Week) which inspires participants to write 7 new picture book drafts in 7 days, from May 1st - 7th.  I love that challenge, and am going to do my best to tackle that along with the 12 x 12...while revising a middle grade novel.  Not easy...but definitely worth the extra effort.  I love having brand new manuscripts to mold into shape.  So...who is going to take the NaPiBoWriWee challenge with me?  There's a wonderful and supportive Facebook group for it.  Let me know if you want me to add you, and we'll cheer each other on.   

I've had less writing time than usual though, because we recently adopted a puppy.  Ruby is a beagle and pointer mix who was one of over 100 dogs rescued from the Everglades.  We weren't looking for another dog, but couldn't resist this adorable face!  I'll fill you in on how we ended up finding her another time.  I need to finish up more of my MG revision and get ready for NaPiBoWriWee!

Here's a photo of Ruby (who was 11 pounds when we adopted her) and our 2 1/2 year old, 90 pound Bullmassador, Lolly. It's amazing how much these two love each other already.  We're so glad they both found their way into our family and hearts.

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2. Cured and Gathered

Win a copy on YA Book Queen. Register now through 21 Apr

First, I’m so excited to tell you that Julie Kagawa’s Immortal Rules trilogy (yes! the entire trilogy!) has been purchased by Palomar Pictures. Her response to the news?

Julie Kagawa ‏ @Jkagawa Guys, if you could see me…my feet are about 6 inches off the ground. Thank you all. #Giddy#theimmortalrulesmovie :)

Congratulations!

The State Farm Youth Advisory Board, a philanthropic program of State Farm, is accepting applications for youth service-learning projects designed to create sustainable local change in communities across the United States and Canada. Projects must be designed to address the root cause of the following issues: access to higher education/closing the achievement gap, financial literacy, community safety and natural disaster preparedness, social health and wellness, and environmental responsibility.

Applicant organizations must be a K-12 public or charter school, or institution of higher education. Nonprofit organizations also are eligible if they are able to demonstrate how they plan to impact student achievement within the public K-12 curriculum. Grants will range from $25,000 to $100,000. Deadline: 4 May

The White House recently responded to the School Librarian petition. Using the “We the People” portion of the White House website, the response concluded by saying

The Obama Administration remains committed to supporting school libraries and the critical role they play in providing resources and support for all students in their learning, to ensure that all students — regardless of their circumstances — are able to graduate from school ready for success in college and career. Check out this response on We the People

It seems that while some areas are continuing to eliminate school librarians, the state of Texas is struggling to find more people qualified for these positions. In reading about the shortage, it’s interesting to learn how they’re  transitioning from book based librarians to being librarians who working with accessing, organizing and working with information, not just books.

Do you know RE

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3. I love Valentine's Day Surprises

I owe a huge thank you to Tara Lazar for holding PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) in November.  After I finished NaNoWriMo mid-month, I tackled her amazing challenge and wasn't sure if I'd be able to come up with 30 new picture book ideas that fast.  Well...I ended up with 38 ideas by the end of the month, and can't wait to flesh out my favorites and tackle them in Paula Yoo's NaPiBoWriWee challenge in the beginning of May, where I'll write 7 picture book drafts in 7 days. 

Not only did Tara inspire me to come up with some amazing new picture book ideas, but she also held a wonderful contest.  Look what I got in the mail:

I love receiving surprises in the mail.  Thanks so much for the fun prize, Tara and Alyson Heller from Simon & Schuster!

Nineteen years ago, Hubby gave me a huge Valentine's Day surprise when he proposed to me.  I'll never forget how he ordered champagne and made the most beautiful toast.  But he acted kind of strange when I sipped the champagne.  He asked if it tasted okay, and I said it was great.  Sip, sip, sip.  Then, he held up his glass and said you can tell a good champagne by the effervescence of the bubbles.  I thought the bubbles looked fine.  Sip, sip, sip.  And then our waiter came over, took my glass, and tipped it toward me saying that sometimes champagne can have a bitter taste because of a metallic sediment on the bottom.  That's when I finally saw the ring--good thing I didn't drink it! :)

Here's our engagement picture (sorry that it's a little fuzzy, but I had to scan it in).


Hubby fished the ring out, dried it off, and proposed to me...what a wonderful Valentine's Day memory!  I hope all of you have a fantastic Valentine's Day, and make special memories that will stay with you forever. 
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4. 7 picture books in 7 days... "NaPiBoWriWee"

Are you up to the challenge of writing 7 picture books in 7 days? Then be sure to join The National Picture Book Writing Week, hosted by Paula Yoo, author of GOOD ENOUGH.

The marathon lasts from May 1-7. Read all about it HERE.

I wish I could take part in this, but I'm afraid I'll be INCREDIBLY busy next week preparing for my picture book writing workshop. For those interested, please check out the details at SavvyAuthors.com.

Cheers!

1 Comments on 7 picture books in 7 days... "NaPiBoWriWee", last added: 4/27/2011
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5. I hope I'll see you in Orlando!

When I attended my first SCBWI conference in 2005, I instantly became a conference addict.  It's amazing to spend time with others who love children's books as much as I do!  I always leave with so much information and inspiration--and I have to say that everyone is always so friendly and supportive.  I love being part of such a wonderful community!

We have an amazing SCBWI FL Mid-Year Workshop in Orlando on June 25th, with incredible intensives on June 24th.  The hotel is on Disney property, so it's the perfect excuse for a vacation!  Here's a link to more info about our Orlando Workshop at the Coronado Springs hotel, and you can also read the faculty bios. 

 

Intensives--Friday, June 24th 


Picture Book Intensive

Alexandra Penfold: editor at Paula Wiseman, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Lisa Wheeler: author with over thirty titles on library shelves including picture books in prose and rhyme, an easy reader series, three books of poems, and creative nonfiction for the very young


Novel Intensive

Michelle Burke: editor at Knopf Books for Young Readers 

Kathleen Duey: award winning author who has published over 70 books for readers K-YA

Marjetta Geerling: author of FANCY WHITE TRASH and another novel scheduled for release in 2012


Illustrators’ Intensive

Lucy Cummins: associate art director with Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Priscilla Garcia Burris: author and illustrator, SCBWI National Illustrator Coordinator & Advisor

Linda Shute: illustrator or author/illustrator of 13 picture books and our FL SCBWI Illustrators’ Coordinator
  

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6. A GLEE-ful read: The book I’d recommend to Mike Chang

Good Enough" the book I'd recommend to Mike Chang.Any way you look at it, it’s been a rough senior year for Glee’s Mike Chang so far.

He got yelled at by Sue Sylvester on the third day of school. He had to convince some reluctant football players that dancing would help their sports skills. He watched several New Directions members leave the group and start a competing club. And then, just as he was helping whip the remaining glee clubbers into tip-top dancing shape, he received an A- on a chemistry test.

Brittany would have been thrilled, but Mike was devastated.

Turns out an A- is considered an “Asian F” in Mike’s family. In fact, the grade was low enough for his dad to call an emergency meeting with Principal Figgins to discuss Mike’s future.

It also turns out Mike’s parents want him to go to an Ivy League college and become a doctor or a lawyer. Mike, who’s played by Harry Shum Jr., wants to dance, but is afraid to tell his parents. He tries to improve his chemistry grade and secretly try out for the school musical, but there are too many schedule conflicts. His mother finds out he’s been cast as Riff and is supportive, but his father confronts Mike and ultimately disowns him when Mike admits he wants to perform.

And you thought your life was complicated.

Mike’s girlfriend, Tina, tries to help by visiting Mike’s father at work and sharing a DVD of his performance in “West Side Story.” But Mr. Chang is unmoved and accuses Tina of having unrealistic expectations and fostering the same in his son.

This is the point in the story where, if I were a librarian at William McKinley High School, I would have given Mike a copy of Good Enough (Harper Teen, 2008) by Paula Yoo.

Because it’s not an assigned English literature text and wouldn’t appear on a recommended reading list for the SATs, Mike probably would have had to read it on the sly, but I think the benefits would have been worth the risk.

It’s the story of Patti Yoon.

And her story is not unlike young Mr. Chang’s. Patti’s parents expect nothing but the best from her. But only if the best will look good on her applications to Harvard, Princeton or Yale. Straight As are an expectation and extracurricular activities are carefully chosen.

In fact, Patti was introduced to the violin as a young child so it could be her “hook.” Something that would help her stand out from the many other talented, college applicants with 4.0 GPAs and high standardized test scores.

But for that to happen, Patti has to be a good violinist.

Fortunately, Patti has a natural aptitude for the instrument. That coupled with private lessons and a rigorous practice schedule have turned her into one of the best high school players in the state. But her practice SAT scores aren’t as high as her parents would like them to be, so Patti finds herself on a strict schedule of studying, test-taking and violin playing.

There are breaks for her to attend church, where Patti’s youth group is made up of other Korean teens whose parents expect similar success. But there aren’t any breaks when a cute trumpet/guitar player invites Patti to jam with his band or attend a rock concert. And when she tries to juggle her schedule and secretly do a few fun activities, her parents find out and react pretty much like Mike’s dad.

Meanwhile, Patti is enjoying mu

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7.

SCBWI Summer Conference: Fantastic...

I'm back in the Nati, the humid humid Nati, and still coming down from the from the fantastic SCBWI Summer Conference in LA. If you weren't there I hope you followed the event on our equally fantastic Official SCBWI Conference Blog.

I'd like to thank the super-extra-fantastic members of SCBWI TEAM BLOG--Jamie Temairik, Jolie Stekly, Lee Wind, Paula Yoo, and Suzanne Young--for their hard work and dedication to covering the conference.

Here we are at our first SCBWI TEAM BLOG meeting.


TEAM BLOG's posts, photos and video were terrific (not to mention fast and furious) and I think we offered a good taste of the conference and shared some useful information for those who weren't there as well as for attendees who could only attend one session at a time. (We could attend 6, and a few times we attended 9 or 10.) If you haven't visited the Conference Blog, click here to check it out.

And below are a few more of my photos from the Blue Moon Ball on Saturday night. (I posted some on the conference blog after the event.) There were drink tickets. There were quesadillas. There was dancing. And, of course, there were outfits.


This year they're blue butterflies;
la
st year they were literary lady bugs.


This conference-goer's cow stopped jumping
over
the moon to pose for a picture.


These Royals fans were happy about the party theme.


This conference-goer got wiggy with it and
enjoyed the Mexican food buffet.



Jay Asher is without mermaids but still ready to
disco as he poses with Linda Sue Park.



I'm not sure if she's a superhero or a cheerleader who mistook
her pom-pom for head gear.
Either way I like this outfit.


This wizard is concerned about wrinkles.

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8. Mangia! (Or Mang, as my grandmother would say)

In my addled state at the time of my last post, I completely lost track of our topic du week -- my favorite subject.  Food!

Since having children and losing my limited ability to concenterate for anything greater than a two-minute interval, my sole non-Nickelodeon TV viewing consists of the news and The Food Network.

A great disappointment to my mother and especially my beloved late grandmother, I am not a cook.  I did somewhat redeem myself by marrying Emeril. :)  As a child, I did not enjoy eating -- much consternation ensuing.  Of course this situation has been more than remedied now.  I may not cook, but oh, how I love to eat.

As I type this, I am listening to my husband and two-year-old son in the next room, watching an HBO concert tribute to the Rock and Roll Hall of fame. The pride of a musician sharing his passion with his appreciative son is beyond words. Of course I thoroughly comprehend why my grandmother could not get over my lack of aptitude for (or interest in) her life's work. But honestly -- as a cook, she was an impossible act to follow.

Like Carmela, my family had the whole pasta-turkey-22 course Thanksgiving meal as an established tradition.  Like Mary Ann, my grandmother grew up in a home with boarders (and 10 siblings).  And scrapple (yum -- I know, I know) and stewed tomatoes (yuck) were staples of my youth. 

My mother's family hails from Ischia and Amalfi.  My mom and aunt finally visted their ancestral homeland a few years ago, and the initial plan was to tour northern Italy.  My mom nixed this idea immediately.  "We can't go there!  They eat white sauce!"  In our family, tomato is King. 

My parents dated in high school.  My dad eventually went to college, joined the army to avoid being drafted and, eight months into his service, called my mom from California (in the middle of the night) to propose.  He said that army food sucked, and he really wanted to get married so he could move out of the barracks and have someone cook him good meals.  She turned him down. :)  He called back.  They have been married for 41 years, so he must have done something right. 

My father (a "Mitigan" = American) had a favorite meal -- stew.  He looked forward to it all day on one of their first days as a married couple.  He came home and was surprised to smell something spaghetti-like.  My mom assured that no, it was stew.  He was expecting beef in broth.  What he got was hot dogs, peas, and potatoes in a tomato sauce.  My mom had never eaten or cooked a meal that was not tomato-based.   Today, she makes a mean beef stew.  However, she remains horrified that my four-year-old prefers her pasta without sauce, thanks very much.

My dad being a Korean linguist and my mom being a cook, I also grew up eating some of the very best Korean food.  I recently read a book by Paula Yoo, and as soon as the protagonist mentioned mandu, she had me hooked.  Back in the day, my parents used to watch every episode of The Sopranos (bear in mind that I have two Aunt Carmellas, an Uncle Junior, and that my mom's godmother is married to a Tony Soprano who worked in waste management).  My mom would then call me in LA to report, in mouthwatering detail, the foods consumed in each episode.  If any family member eats at a restaurant, I know to expect a ten-minute recap of the meal, soup to nuts.  Family recipes are cherished posessions, framed and hung, replicated, discussed and dissected.  Especially in a family of non-readers and non-writers, the effort to record a recipe (much of which consisted of "a pinch of" this and "add until it looks right") was clearly and act of pure love.

Reading JoAnn's post about A Wrinkle in Time, I was transported as soon as I saw the words "cocoa"

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9. PiBoIdMo Day 30: Paula Yoo Sums it Up


Paula Yoo photo courtesy Jennifer Oyama, Audrey Magazine

30 picture book ideas in 30 days?

Are you CRAZY?

Oh wait. You’re a writer. OF COURSE you’re nuts! :)

And I’m a writer, too. Which means we’re both in the same boat.

Tara asked me to give you some words of advice as you hunker down for that final idea for Day 30 of the 2009 PiBoldMo–Picture Book Idea Month!

I thought I’d talk a bit about my “other” job to give you some ideal inspiration! In addition to my YA novels and picture books, I am also a TV writer. I’ve written for NBC’s The West Wing, FOX’s Tru Calling, and currently The SyFy Channel’s Eureka.

As a working TV writer in Hollywood, I have to come up with ideas every single day. In fact, I have to come up with DOZENS of ideas every single hour of every single day when I’m working on a TV show.

Here’s how most scripted TV shows work: several writers are hired to literally sit around in a room called “The Writers’ Room” all day long and come up with ideas for episodes. Each show is run differently, but the basic day usually involves the writing staff discussing what storylines should happen in each episode, along with in-depth dialogue about character development and themes. It’s a really fun job when you think about it–you’re getting paid to make up stuff!

At the same time, it’s also a really TOUGH job. You can get burned out very easily when trying to brainstorm episode storylines and figuring out which character does what and why. It’s often like solving a puzzle–there’s a ton of logic and plausibility that you have to consider when pitching ideas.

I’ve learned a lot from having worked in TV about how to brainstorm effectively when it comes to ideas. Of course the sky’s the limit when it comes to brainstorming–anything from a pebble on the beach to a squirrel running across the street to the cranky lady standing in front of you in line at the bank can lead to an amazing story idea for your picture book.

But a cool image, compelling character, or interesting conflict isn’t enough to create a fully-fleshed out idea. You have to combine all three areas–image, character, conflict–into one idea in order to have a viable story for a potential picture book.

As a TV writer, I was constantly told that story equals intention plus obstacle. Memorize this formula!

INTENTION + OBSTACLE = STORY

In other words, your main character has an INTENTION. But there is an OBSTACLE standing in your character’s way. This creates CONFLICT… which is another way of saying STORY! Ah ha! So STORY EQUALS CONFLICT! And how that character overcomes that obstacle reveals his or her journey towards that end goal.

As long as you can make this equation work, you’ve got yourself a viable story idea! It’s actually a fun formula to apply to published books, movies, and TV shows to break down a completed project to its very essence–the idea. Sometimes working backwards and analyzing published books and figuring out their basic idea can help you as you brainstorm your own ideas.

In other words, try this formula on published books or movies etc. as a “warm up” exercise before you begin your own brainstorming. For example…

In Mo Willem’s Knuffle Bunny, Tri

10 Comments on PiBoIdMo Day 30: Paula Yoo Sums it Up, last added: 12/3/2009
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10. SCBWI Conference Tip: Try Not To Piss Off The Editors

And here, as a public service announcement, we share with you the inestimable Arthur A. Levine, Vice President of Scholastic Inc. and the Editorial Director of Arthur A. Levine Books, taking a momentary break after a full day at a SCBWI conference:





Starring:
Paula Yoo, as the befuddled what-not-to-do-er
And
Arthur A. Levine, as Arthur A. Levine


Behind the camera "evil" mastermind... Lee Wind


--Posted by Lee Wind

13 Comments on SCBWI Conference Tip: Try Not To Piss Off The Editors, last added: 2/1/2010
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11. Interview with violinist and YA author Paula Yoo

Please welcome my guest today! Her name is Paula Yoo and she's a violinist and a children's and young adult author. In this interview, Paula talks about her musical background, her books, and the National Picture Book Writing Week, among other things.

Thanks for this interview, Paula. It's not often I get to interview a violinist who's also an author. Why don't you start by telling us a little about Paula, the violinist.

I have wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl. I was inspired after reading "Charlotte's Web" in the first grade - I started writing my own stories after reading that book. My first "novel" was a 75-page handwritten book entitled "The Girl Called Raindrop." (Hey, I was only seven years old at the time!) I actually mailed it in to Harper & Row because they published my favorite series, the "Little House on the Prairie" books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. They wrote a very nice letter back saying I should try out for their children's writing contest. I remember being upset and tearing up the letter because I felt I was not a "child" writer - I was a "real" writer! So I think of that as my first rejection letter! LOL!

Fast forward many years - I was an English major in college, and then received my M.S. in journalism and an MFA in creative writing. I spent the first ten years after college working as a newspaper and magazine journalist. Journalism taught me how to write on deadline - it was a great experience. I then taught for a little bit before switching over to being a full-time TV screenwriter for dramas. During that time, I sold my first two picture books and first YA novel.

Tell us about your books. Are they violin related?

My first two children's picture books are not violin-related, but I still feel the lessons learned in these books are very similar to what a violinist learns. My first picture book was SIXTEEN YEARS IN SIXTEEN SECONDS: THE SAMMY LEE STORY (Lee & Low 2005). It was a biography of the Olympic gold medalist diver Dr. Sammy Lee. My second picture book, SHINING STAR: THE ANNA MAY WONG STORY (Lee & Low 2009), came out in July 2009. It is about the ground-breaking actress and first Asian American female movie star Anna May Wong. In both books, Dr. Lee and Anna May Wong worked hard at perfecting their art (for Dr. Lee, it was mastering difficult dives and for Anna May Wong, it was learning the craft of acting). They also struggled to come to terms with their own artistic dreams versus their parents' dreams for them to have secure lives. Often times, parents want their children to have "regular" jobs and financial security. Pursuing sports or the arts is a very risky dream. I identified with Dr. Lee and Anna May Wong for those same reasons.

My first YA novel, GOOD ENOUGH, was published in 2008 by HarperCollins. This book is based on my own life growing up as a "violin geek." I have often read books about violinists that come off as very "well-researched," but do not have the authenticity and "

1 Comments on Interview with violinist and YA author Paula Yoo, last added: 2/19/2010
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12. NaPiBoWriWee 2010

The incredible Paula Yoo has organized the Second Annual National Picture Book Writing Week (aka "NaPiBoWriWee") event! The event officially begins at midnight on Saturday May 1, 2010 and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Friday May 7th. In preperation Paula is posing writing tips and inspirational tidbits throughout April to get everyone ready to write. Today was my turn to contribute a quote. Check out the blog here: http://paulayoo.com/content/napibowriwee-2010-inspirational-blog-5-mon-4510 and find out even more information on NaPiBoWriWee at: http://paulayoo.com/news

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13. Nat'l Picture Book Writing Week

National Picture Book Writing Week (aka NaPiBoWriWee) 2010 is upon us! Read more about it at event creator Paula Yoo's web site.

During the first week of May, writers will create one picture book per day for seven days. This event is meant to spur those reluctant writers who've always wanted to write for children but have never taken the plunge.

Paula Yoo (author of Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story, Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story, and the YA novel Good Enough) warns prospective writers:
This is NOT to say writing a picture book is easy. On the contrary, it's EXTREMELY difficult and challenging to write a complete story with a beginning, middle, and end, an original plotline, and a unique character with a compelling voice for the picture book genre. Every word has to count. Every image and every action has to speak volumes in terms of theme and deeper meaning... while still being kid friendly, fun, and appropriate for the tone of the book (be it a quiet literary picture book or a hilarious, laugh out of loud funny picture book).
When I first heard about this project a year ago, I had strong reservations. But author Daniel Kirk ( 2 Comments on Nat'l Picture Book Writing Week, last added: 5/2/2010
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14. PiBoIdMo Day 30: Pitch like Paula Yoo

by Paula Yoo

Welcome to the final day of PiBoldMo! Congratulations! You made it! By now, hopefully you have come up with 29 fantastically fun and totally awesome ideas for future picture books. :-)

So for Day 30, you need one more idea. Come on, you can do it!

But in case you are burned out, here’s one last idea sparker to help you make it through Day 30.

Have you ever heard of the “elevator pitch”? It’s a famous phrase used all the time in the writing industry, as well as in the business world. In a nutshell, the “elevator pitch” is how long it should take for you to tell someone what your book is about. By the time your elevator reaches your floor, you should have been able to “pitch” your book idea in that brief amount of time.

In other words, an elevator pitch should last about 30 seconds.

So look over your 29 ideas so far. Can you pitch each idea in 30 seconds?

Pretend you waiting for the elevator at the Society of Children Book Writers &Illustrators national conference. To your left stands a famous children’s book editor. The two of you engage in some small talk as you wait for the elevator. The editor learns you are a writer at the conference. Eager, he/she asks if you have written anything.

And then the elevator doors open.

Oh no! You probably have 30 seconds to pitch your amazing picture book to this editor before the elevator reaches his/her floor.

So how to craft your elevator pitch? Some tips to get you started:

1. Start with a cliffhanger “hook.”

This can be in the form of a question or a one-sentence “logline” that conveys your book’s main conflict. “What if a child loses her beloved stuffed toy animal at a laundromat and can’t tell her dad because she hasn’t learned to talk yet?” Or think of your hook in terms of theme or even a personal anecdote that relates to your book. For example: “I have the most stubborn cat who is convinced the full moon is a bowl of milk. She will do anything to reach that moon.” (Note:
Obviously I’m using “Knuffle Bunny” and “Kitten’s First Full Moon” as examples.)

2. Set up the main character and conflict.

Then launch into the heart of your story—who’s your main character? Why should we love him/her? What obstacle must they overcome in their quest? (“Trixie and Knuffle Bunny have never been separated… until now.”)

3. Leave ‘em hanging. Don’t spoil the actual ending.

Conclude with an open ending—will Trixie learn how to speak before Knuffle Bunny is lost forever?

For Day 30, to get your brain ready for that final idea, why not take an hour or two to review your previous 29 ideas? See if you can “pitch” them to a friend. Sometimes I will take a friend out for coffee and pitch them some ideas I am working on to get their feedback on how clear and concise my ideas sound to them. I even have them “time” me with a stop watch!

When you are working on your elevator pitch, it will help you focus on what the heart of each book is truly about… you’ll learn quickly as to what the most important point of the book is.

Once you practice your elevator pitches for some of the 29 ideas you’ve already come up with, then try the same approach for your 30th idea. See if you can just brainstorm a fun 30th picture book idea in 30 seconds or under. You can even record yourself as you talk out loud. Or you can write them down

18 Comments on PiBoIdMo Day 30: Pitch like Paula Yoo, last added: 11/30/2010
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15. Golden Kite Awards: Sid Fleischman Award Winner Donna Gephart



GOLDEN KITE AWARDS: SID FLEISCHMAN AWARD WINNER DONNA GEPHART

Donna Gephart's middle grade novel, As if Being 12¾ Isn't Bad Enough, My Mother is Running for President!, won the 2009 Sid Fleischman Award. This award is for authors whose work exemplifies the excellence of writing in the genre of humor.

Although Sid Fleischman wasn't able to attend today's award, he wrote a speech in her honor that Stephen Mooser read out loud. Fleischman wrote, "This year's recipient knew at age 14 that she wanted to be a writer. She saved her babysitter money to buy a typewriter."

Fleischman praised Gephart's "irrepressible humor" which was not simply full of "ornamental quotes." He said she understood the true aim of comedy, that it was "tragedy wearing a putty nose."

Fleischman joked that Gephart "... also wins the award for the longest title."

Here are some highlights from Donna Gephart's speech:

-- She screamed so loudly after getting the congratulatory phone call from Lin Oliver and Stephen Mooser that "... I lost my voice for three days."

-- When describing herself growing up, Gephart said, "I was the quintessential nerd... and I still am."

-- "This is the only award of its kind to honor humorous children's books, and it's pretty special. Even though I've been writing humor of different sorts for over twenty years, sometimes it's nice to be taken seriously."

-- Her advice? "If you've ever heard the words 'never' or 'can't,' I have three words for you. 'YES YOU CAN!'"

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16. Golden Kite Awards: SCBWI LA 2009 Portfolio Award Winners Announced

Congratulations to the winner and honorees of the SCBWI LA 2009 Portfolio Award contest! The Grand Prize winner and two Honor recipients, their art work, and websites are listed below:

Grand Prize: Israel Sanchez, http://www.israelsanchez.com/



Honor: Brian Ormiston, http://brianormiston.com/



Honr: Stephanie Roth Sisson, http://www.stephanitely.com/index.htm



Posted by Paula Yoo

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17. SCBWI Regional Advisors Word Parade

SCBWI is great not just because of all its resources for writers and book lovers, but it's also a wonderful professional organization because of all its AMAZING REGIONAL ADVISORS!!!

These hard-working men and women work tirelessly day and night to make sure the SCBWI organization runs smoothly. From offering regional newsletters with helpful articles on the craft of writing, to hosting parties, to lots and lots of xeroxing, emailing, and arranging events... these brave Regional Advisors keep SCBWI moving!

As Aaron Hartzler, SCBWI Director of Communications and Creative Director likes to say:

"That's how we roll..."


These RAs hail from all over the country and from as far away as Spain, Russia, and Australia!

Some inspirational words uttered at this year's RA Word Parade included "Success," "Newbie," "Chocolate - because you can never have enough chocolate," "Kick-awesome" (inspired by American Idol), "Embrace," "Percolating," and "Horizon."

LA regional advisor Claudia Harrington wanted to say "klutz" because her arm is in a cast, but instead, she decided her word would be "Bravery." Brava, Claudia!

Here's some live video of the RA Word Parade!



On behalf of all the members of SCBWI, Thank you, awesome SCBWI Regional Advisors for all that you do for us!


Posted by Paula Yoo and Lee Wind

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18. Elizabeth Law Color Commentary, Part 5 - taking it home

Lee: Biggest mistake writers make according to ELaw is following a trend.

Paula: Oh, she's sharing some great books that she loves that came out recently. "Hunger Games." "Wintergirls."

Lee: I'm adding them to my To-Read pile right now.

Paula: She's also talking about knowing your book's hook.

Lee: You've gotta be able to hook your book.

Paula: You're rhyming, aren't you?

Lee: Thank you for noticing.

Paula: She's giving a good pitch example - not 2 minutes long, but for Egmont's "Leaving the Bellweathers," she's saying it's "The Addams Family meets Cheaper by the dozen."

Lee: That's really interesting that those aren't book references - they're TV series and movies!

Paula: Cheaper by the Dozen was originally a book. Often, using TV and movies is an effective way of getting across a high-concept idea.

Lee: And I certainly have an idea of what tone is of "Leaving the Bellweathers" from that.

Paula: Oh, now she's saying how she relies on agents to screen for her. They're weaning out a whole level of stuff before it gets to them. You know, she could go on the road doing a one-woman show.

Lee: ELaw. On Twitter. @EgmontGal. Get her while she's HOT!

Paula: And we're finishing with a huge round of applause for ELaw!

Lee: She has a motto! "No Nonsense!"

Applause...


Posted by Paula Yoo and Lee Wind

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19. Elizabeth Law Color Commentary, Part 3

Lee: ELaw just said, Competition is stiff, so the writing has to be great. Oh, she reads on kindle - and just re-read "A Wrinkle In Time."

Paula: Is that a kindle in time?

Lee: You're Funny. Make that Punny.

Paula: Now here's a quote, "Man, I thought these books were so hot when I was a teenager..."

Lee: And she's saying that Now, for her to look back on them, the passion is there, but those books seem so chaste.

Paula: She's saying that the passion is the same, (even if we're a little more candid about it now.)

Lee: I love that she just admitted "I sort of am, kind of an eleven year old." That goes with my whole theory of we all write the age we arrested in our development. What age did you stop, Paula?

Paula: 15. No, actually, make it 12.

Lee: But wait a minute. You write picture books AND YA. Do you have two ages of arrested development?

Paula: That's my evil twin.

Lee: Oh, that explains it.

Paula: Stop - she's giving us some information now!

Lee: Well, let's go to a commercial break - we'll be right back for Elizabeth Law Color Commentary, Part 4

Disembodied Voice Over: Do you miss the moments of insight and laughter that actually attending an SCBWI conference can deliver to you? Do you follow our twitter feed, #SCBWI09, yet long for the one-on-one awkwardness of pitching ELaw while she's taking the up escalator? Are you reading this post with the hope that you'll get every single wonderful detail of being here, but you know there's 90 percent of the experience that can never be translated digitally?

Well then, get yourself to the next SCBWI conference. It's a career-changing, life-changing, tribal experience. And we hope to see you at the next one.

we now return you to our regularly scheduled programming.

Posted by Paula Yoo and Lee Wind

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20. Color Commentary on Elizabeth Law's Keynote!



Hello! I'm Lee Wind, and welcome to this special edition of the S, C, B, W, I Team Blog coverage of Elizabeth Law's Keynote address to the multitudes. I'm joined here by the effervescent and insightful Paula Yoo. Paula, can you tell us what the official title of the speech will be?

Paula: From Johnny Tremain to Edward Cullen: How Children's Publishing is Changing, and how to meet the challenges head on.

Lee: While we're waiting for the crowd to simmer down, and for Lin's intro, what are some fun facts that our audience might not know about Elizabeth?

Paula: She was a girl scout leader. She was also a life guard.

Lee: Good skill set for her current gig, huh?

Paula: She's certainly keeping her head above water. She's really able to dive into her work.

Lee: And I bet she's a wiz at selling cookies!

Paula: I wonder what her favorite cookies are?

Lee: Hmmm... Rubber chicken cookies, perhaps?

Paula: With mushroom sauce.

Lee: lovely. Lin's taking the stage, let's tune in. Oh, the new joke category's being announced.

Lin: For this contest, think of a funny or hilarious psuedonym to go with a classic i.e. The Harry Potter series by Paige Turner.

Paula: I have a new nickname for her. "ELaw" Like JLo. Get it?

Lee: Okie-dokie then. Here's the ELaw intro. Let's listen in.


Posted by Paula Yoo and Lee Wind

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21. Elizabeth Law Color Commentary, Pt. 2



And... we're off! Elizabeth Law is now speaking. (I have nicknamed her "ELaw," like JLo.)

LEE: I like the pink sweater and the chunky jewelry. It's a nice touch.

PAULA: I agree. The pink really shows off her lovely complexion.

LEE: Oh, she's now talking about Egmont. Did you know their profits go to a children's charity? She's feisty, fashion savvy, AND generous. Talk about fabulous!

PAULA: Only eight people in their company? Wow. I thought WE had a tough job. SCBWI TEAM BLOG is a picnic compared to the hard work ELaw and her staff does!

LEE: I like that she doesn't whine or complain. She's very positive. She says YA hardcover is growing and children's publishing is the growth area of publishing. Oh, and she's seeing better manuscript submissions now. That's awesome! But she says we have to up our game because the competition is stiff.

PAULA: Hey Lee! Where are you going?

LEE: (Running away) I have to go revise my manuscript!

PAULA: You have plenty of time for that! Come back for more ELaw jewels of wisdom!

LEE returns... stay tuned for Part 3...

Posted by Paula Yoo

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22. DONNA GEPHART: "12 3/4 Ways to Tickle Young Readers' Funny Bones"



DONNA GEPHART: "12 3/4 Ways to Tickle Young Readers' Funny Bones"

Some hilarious higlights from 2009 Sid Fleischman Humor Award winner Donna Gephart's panel:

-- She provided handouts for everyone with a list of techniques and details to hone one's humor skills.

-- She advises taking risks. "Mine your embarrassment," she said, discussing how writers should not be afraid to talk about real life embarrassing moments.

-- "Embarrassment is funny but humiliation is not," she said. "You want to empathize with your character. Readers want to laugh, not cringe."

-- She gave a writing exercise in which conference goers had to do: List embarrassing things that happened to you or list things that embarrassed you as a kid.

-- She suggested paying attention to the "sound of language" as another tool to write humor. For example, the "K" sound is funny, such as "Chicken is funny. Roast beef is not. Pickle is funny. Cucubmer is not. Twinkie is funny. Pie is not."

-- She also advised using exaggeration and understatement as tools for writing humor. Examples included "Exaggeration: referring to a tropical breeze as a hurricane" and "Understatement: referring to a hurricane as a tropical breeze."

-- Ultimately, she says writers should not TRY to be funny. "Forced humor is no fun for anyone."

-- She also gave a handout listing funny picture books, early readers, chapter books, and MG/YA novels.

It was a packed room where people participated with a lot of enthusiasm to Donna's writing exercises. And yes, there was much laughter!

Yet another shining example of great lectures provided by award-winning writers at the SCBWI national conference.

Posted by Paula Yoo

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23. MICHAEL REISMAN: "What Hollywood Wants With Your Book"



MICHAEL REISMAN: "What Hollywood Wants With Your Book"

(Pictured above: Michael preps for his lecture by providing not one, not two, but THREE handouts!)

Michael Reisman, author of the bestselling SIMON BLOOM middle grade novel series, discussed the behind-the-scenes tips on why and how Hollywood options books, based on his own experience for more than ten years as a story analyst for movie studios and television networks, including Nickelodeon. His own SIMON BLOOM book was recently optioned as a movie.

He provided three handouts that were extremely helpful. They were:

-- A sample of "script coverage" on Lisa Yee's novel, MILLICENT MIN, GIRL GENIUS. This showed Michael's synopsis and analysis of her novel and whether or not he considered potential movie/TV material. He wrote "CONSIDER," which means "Worth a serious look; needs varying degrees of changes."

-- A handout explaining what points story analysts consider while reading and covering book properties. (Examples include "Characterization: Asks how realistic and multi-dimensional the characters are. Will audiences identify with them? Will they care about them?")

-- A handout explaining coverage "jargon." ("CONSIDER" was just defined above, but another example includes: "CONSIDER CONCEPT: Too many problems to adapt directly, but may be worth purchase for core ideas or key elements" and "RECOMMEND: Buy; needs no or almost no changing.")

Some highlights from Michael's extremely informative talk:

-- "Don't write what will make a movie deal. Write what makes a good book." He emphasized how different these genres are and you should simply concentrate on writing the best book possible, period.

-- Retain your movie and TV rights. "I'm a happier man because of my movie deal" given that he retained his own rights.

-- Get a movie agent or manager to help navigate through the Hollywood world.

Overall, Michael delivered a very thorough lecture on how Hollywood approaches book properties and why they option or do not option books. But the information he provided in the handouts and in his advice/examples during the lecture were both applicable not only to published authors interested in trying to get their works optioned but also for aspiring writers because the points brought up about how Hollywood story analysts critique premise, dialogue, storyline and premise ideas was very helpful. Another example of the excellent informative lectures provided for writers at SCBWI's national conference!

Posted by Paula Yoo

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24. SCBWI Team Blog - Hard At Work, for YOU!


From Right to Left: Alice Pope, Team Captain! Lee Wind, Paula Yoo, Jolie Stekly, Jaime Temairik, and Suzanne Young!

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25. Farewell and Autograph Party


Farewell & Autograph Party

After Kathleen Duey's inspirational farewell keynote address, conference goers enjoyed the Farewell & Autography Party where they were able to meet and greet the authors and get their autographs! Fresh lemonade, pretzels, and candy treats were provided for everyone as they headed out the door and back to their homes.

It was clear that close friendships had blossomed between conference goers over the past four days and that everyone - from aspiring newbie writers to published veteran authors - were inspired to rush home and WRITE WRITE WRITE.

The room was full of camaraderie and everyone enjoyed the celebration at the farewell shindig. Tonight, the faculty will meet for a final celebratory wrap-up party.

The entire SCBWI TEAM BLOG - Alice Pope, Jolie Stekly, Jaime Temairik, Lee Wind, Paula Yoo, and Suzanne Young - would like to thank SCBWI for giving us this opportunity to share the highlights of the 2009 national conference with everyone. We had a blast attending all these panels - our one regret was that we wish YOU were there! :) If you would like to find out more about SCBWI and join as a member, please go here for more info: http://scbwi.org

Remember, we are an interactive forum, so please comment away on our blogs. We look forward to the dialogue between SCBWI members about this year's conference.





Posted by SCBWI TEAM BLOG

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