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Look, I’m back. I can stick with it, I can!
The truth is, the one time I put a water bottle in my computer bag- it leaked. My computer spent some time in a box of rice over the heater (per instructions my husband found on the internet) and then it went to a guru. Everybody kept saying it would be fine as long as I took the battery out- but the new Macbook Pros have nonremovable batteries. Gah! We got it back tonight, and it has a couple of permanent water spots on the screen and needs a new airport card- but everything else is superduper. Yeehah! I will never bag a beverage again.
The Onion examines an authors exploitation of innocent, interspecific friendship.
The Longstockings are calling for a new manuscript to critique.
If you just ventured out from your cave, there were some book awards this week. I did pretty well with predictions. How about you?
Congratulations all around! Great Kid Books has the list broken down by reading level.
The BBC has produced a video about the real toy story of what happens when a teddy bear is home alone. Some people might not appreciate the audio at the end, but I am a different sort of people. Thanks to Minor Details for the link.
If you’re going to New York next week for the SCBWI Winter Conference (or if you’re there already), there are a few extra events happening around town you might be interested in.
Once again Betsy Bird is throwing a Kidlit Drink Night to go along with the conference. I went last year and had tons of fun. Her partner in revelry, Cheryl Klein, will sadly be out of town. But, we’ll live it up in her honor on Friday.
And then back at Books of Wonder on Saturday from 12-2 you can catch the opening of illustrator John Rocco‘s exhibition of Percy Jackson art. His editor will be there as well talking about the process of developing the art for the series.
Closer to home- SCBWI WWA’s 19th Annual Conference registration is OPEN! I’m so excited! Peter Brown! Jay Asher! Laini Taylor! Mitali Perkins! and LOADS of other great people. Look! I’m even on there. Under “Distinguished Faculty.” Ha! I’m giving a talk on the very basics of social media for writers and illustrators. People come to the conference from all over, so don’t be shy if you’re not local. Registration is already almost half full- so don’t delay.
Did you register yet??
I think YA is well represented in the blogosphere. Lots of YA authors blog, and YA releases generally get a lot of online buzz . Picture books and middle-grade don’t seem to have as strong of an online presence (in my opinion, anyway). Why is that?Do you agree?
I like to post about general kid lit stuff and random things that interest me, but I’m going to try and have more of a focus on middle-grade fiction as well.
How, you ask?
Weekly author interviews and giveaways, I say!
I’ve asked a few of my favorite middle-grade authors with recent or upcoming releases to consent to be interviewed- and they’ve obliged! So, stay tuned for the first installment next week.
CuppaJolie has a contest for bravery on her blog.
Are you in Seattle? Consider a preview screening of Where the Wild Things Are with a Q&A with Dave Eggers to benefit 826 Seattle.
Mitali Perkins wrote an insightful note to young immigrants here.
Darcy Pattison has declared Random Acts of Publicity week starting on September 7. Promote some books!
Have a great holiday weekend!
Book Nut presents a solid list of picks for the top 100 middle-grade books of all time. I don’t agree with all of them, but it’s a nice mix of new and old.
MotherReader explains why the upcoming KidLitosphere Conference is way cooler than BlogHer09.
Kirby Larson interviewed Karen Cushman.
Adam Rex and Mac Barnett collaborate well (as seen here on 7-imp), and I think The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity is an awesome title.
Lee Wind interviews Ellen Hopkins.
At least three of those people will be at the SCBWI Summer Conference next month.
I LOVE my critique group (Unless they voted to kick me out at the last meeting, which I had to miss. In that case, they’re a bunch of rotten chum buckets.). I’ve had other groups in the past, but I think my current group’s dynamic works really well. We have a mix of illustrators and writers in different genres. Their feedback is fabulous, and I can’t imagine trying to write and revise without the benefit of a group. I’m dense. I need help.
I was at a lovely party a couple of nights ago chatting with a circle of successful authors, and critique groups came up. A couple of the authors mentioned that they don’t have a critique group, nor have they ever had a critique group. They are each published and well-regarded, so that’s what works for them. I find myself constantly curious about the writing process of others, and the various methods people use to reach publication.
What works for you? Do you think critique groups are important? What’s yours like? If you don’t have one, do you do anything else for feedback? Dish!
So, I’m going to have a marathon writing session this weekend. Saturday and Sunday I’m holing up to pound out a draft. Away from the distractions and interruptions of home! My sweet husband volunteered to care for the kids and pets, so it will just be me and my new computer in a hotel room. I’ve never done this before. I’m giddy!
Revision might be too weak of a word. It’s somewhere between a revision and starting from scratch. Same characters, big changes in the story. Let’s just call it a rewrite. Anyway, since I’ve never done this before, I have no idea what to expect. How many words can I possibly pump out over two days, if I’m only stopping to eat (or take a quick brain-refreshing swim)? I don’t know, but I can’t wait to find out!
I’m not even going to watch the new Harry Potter movie, which I’ve been really geeked out about, until I’m done and heading back home on Sunday. I mean business, people! No more distractions.
Alright, maybe a few for you.
Watch the awesome video Betsy Bird made.
Can you spot the Pacific Northwest authors and illustrators making cameos? Name one in the comments, and I’ll pick someone on Wednesday to win a prize made by yet another talented local author & illustrator! I’ll send one lucky commenter a set of recipe cards from Jaime Temairik‘s new Kitchenette line on Etsy.
Aren’t they snazzy? I ordered a set for myself, too. Now I can transfer the recipes I’ve jotted down on the back of old envelopes to lovely little cards. If you don’t cook, you can give the cards to the loved one who cooks for you. They deserve a gift, preparing all your meals like that. Or pass ‘em out to friends and relatives to give you instructions for their tastiest dishes!
I thought I knew my way around the kitchen, but it turns out I didn’t even know the easiest way to peel a banana (via SwissMiss).
Here’s a question-
So, Writer X is tooling along revising the manuscript she’s been working on for a year.
She hopes to begin submitting this summer.
She daydreams about how rocking it will be to work with a great editor, and see her book on the shelves in a couple of years.
She’s had good feedback, and she thinks this manuscript probably has potential.
Writer X takes a break from writing on Saturday to peruse a few publisher’s fall lists, when an upcoming autumn release catches her eye. There is a very similar protagonist, subplot, and secondary character to her own work in progress. It appears to be probably too similar. Not in any kind of plagiarism way, just in a crappy luck kind of way. If the book is a success, Writer X’s manuscript will be seen as a cheap imitation. If the book is a flop, Writer X’s manuscript will be seen as even more of an unmarketable cheap imitation.
Does Writer X-
A) Roast marshmallows over the glowing embers of a wasted year?
B) Submit her manuscript anyway and make a reputation for herself as an unoriginal hack?
C) Revise to the point of starting from scratch, replacing the characters, changing the plot, and ignoring the vision for the piece?
D) Or start fresh with one of those new ideas always swimming around. What’s another year or two? Draft or ten?
Please advise, dear reader, so that I may guide Writer X out from the pile of wet tissues, empty wine bottles, and despair.
Are there any rules about blogging in a thunderstorm? I kind of like it.
Holy noodles, that conference wore me out. I haven’t blogged for two weeks because I was wading through conference prep. I’ve barely written a thing. It’s taken two days to get my brain back. My feet are still sore, but I’m kind of excited about all the newfound free time.
I have something to show you from the conference, but someone who had to miss it has to see it first- so you have to wait. I’ll post it around the end of the week, after I’ve heard this person has seen it. Is that vague enough?
Let’s see… I think people who saw/met me at the conference who don’t know me might think I’m a little crazy. I was sooo busy, and I didn’t have time to eat much, and I was drinking A LOT of coffee to keep myself going. I might have looked a little wild eyed and been a little wound up. Ok, I know I did. Try me again on a regular day and I promise to be more serene.
It started with the kid lit drink night, which was a blast. So much fun, in fact, that I stayed much later than I should have for a girl that had to wake up at 4 am the next day. Ouch.
I loved meeting so many new people, and seeing friends. I only caught bits and pieces of the breakout sessions, but the ones I saw were all aces. I did see most of the keynotes by Adam Rex, Grace Lin, Ellen Hopkins, and Jon Scieszka, and they were each unique and inspirational.
We raffled off a free registration for next year’s conference (won by Nuria Coe) to benefit Bridget Zinn, who couldn’t make it this year. We kept it kind of secret, because I wasn’t sure how it would go- but our lovely attendees raised $1560! Thank you, lovely attendees! The online auction is growing as well. Jone added my bag a couple of weeks ago. There are tons of other items available to bid on like a basket of middle grade books or a FULL manuscript consultation from the blunt (but still charming) Jody Feldman. Go bid on a fabulous prize, and support a writer to boot.
Ok, I have some revisions to get back to- so this is what you get.
See you in a couple of days!