Friday, January 31, 2014

Writing Tips/Articles for 2014

In the past few days, there has been much excitement about the announcement of the 2014 Newbery, Caldecott, Pura Belpre, and many other annual book awards. Here is Kate DiCamillo’s reaction to her win. And here is Brian Floca’s. Enjoy!
And here is a Publishers Weekly blog post you do not want to miss. Titled “Fall 2013 Flying Starts: Sustaining Flight,” the article covers interviews with such famous authors as Kate DiCamillo, Brian Selznick, Libba Bray, and some others that I met at writers’ conferences, i.e., Christopher Paul Curtis, Karen Cushman, and Laurie Halse Anderson. Find out how they got their start. Amazing read!  
And now I leave you with “62 of the Top Writing Articles from 2013 (That Can Help You in 2014) written by Brian A. Klem on the Writer’s Digest blog. Happy writing in 2014!

There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates’ loot on Treasure Island … and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life. – Walt Disney

Monday, January 27, 2014

Winners of 2014 Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, Pura Bulpre

Publishers’ Weekly just listed the winners of the 2014 Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, Pura Belpre and many other awards. Congratulations to all who won and to those who got honors as well.  
And today, January 27, is Multicultural Children’s Book Day.
Libraries! Love ‘em. Love to roam in the aisles where shelves and shelves of books beckon. But today, libraries are not just for books anymore. They offer a lot more. Take a peek at what one library in Florida offers their visitors.
The hand of the artist, a little stained with paint around the fingernails, must be seen. The voice of the writer, passionate and idiosyncratic, must be heard. And whether it is through adventure or humor or pathos, the story and pictures must always touch the heart. -- Rosemary Wells

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Where do I start my story?

Mission San Jose
Are you having trouble deciding where to start your story? As writers, we are told to have a good hook to entice our reader to want to pick up our book. We are told to start at the point where something happens. The blog Ingrid’s Notes, has a post dedicated to this topic – where to start. “Inciting incident” is mentioned. Ingrid writes in step 1 of 4 steps: Why is an inciting incident so important? It’s the kick off the game! It creates the initial energy of your project and starts the plot. Everyone is always waiting for that exciting moment when the game begins. If you wait too long, people might leave before the story even starts.
This post is worth looking into if you’re in doubt about where to start your story.

You might want to read Publisher’s Weekly article on Newbery-Medalist, (Tale of Despereaux) Kate DiCamillo, the next National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.  
And here’s something cool on the thisiscolossal blog – visuals of paper books. You’ve got to take a look at these. Amazing!

Anthology - A collection of selected writings by various authors or gatherings of works by one author. -- Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Tracking Your Writing Time

Are you like me? Trying to steal some time here and there to write? But sometimes we have the time but make up excuses and procrastinate because we dread sitting in front of the PC staring at a blank screen. I just finished reading the book, The Right to Write, by Julia Cameron, author of the million-seller book, The Artist’s Way. It’s an excellent, inspirational read for writers. About daily writing, she writes: “… writing is nonnegotiable. Writing is the art of motion. Progress, even if that progress is in baby steps, is what writing is about. Daily writing … is like keeping a pot of soup on the back of the stove… like soup, your daily writing doesn’t have to be fancy. A few simple ingredients are enough.”
Here’s a pretty good way to keep track of your writing time. A post on the blog, Ingrid’s Notes, suggests a writer create a writing timesheet (spreadsheet). She writes: “ … what if the year it took to write a novel only seems large because we worked on it in small pieces? What if we actually kept track of the time we spent on it?” For more on this topic and to see a sample of the worksheet, click here 
If you have a manuscript ready for submission, you might want to visit the Children’s Book Council (CBC) for a list of publishers and addresses. Many do not accept unsolicited manuscripts, but some do. Best of luck!

"No matter how much formal education you've had, it's best to read as many classics as possible and keep abreast of today's popular reading especially in the area to which you hope to contribute." -- Writer's Digest Weekly Planner

Friday, January 10, 2014

More Writing Tips & Illustrator Award

I have more writing tips for you. These are from a Publishers Weekly post by Pulitzer Prize winner author Paul Harding (2010 Pulitzer for his novel Tinkers). He writes: “…But a huge part of being a writer is discovering your own intellectual and aesthetic autonomy, and how you best get the best words onto the page. …Outside of writing workshops and seminars, no one cares if you sit facing the blank page for six hours every day beginning at sunrise, or if you loaf around frittering away most days like a bum, or if you write your book one line at a time on the sly in between typing your boss’s business letters at the office. What’s important is that your reader holds a thrilling, amazing work of art in her hands.” Read the entire article here. 
And great news for our SCBWI-SWTX chapter here in San Antonio, Texas. One of our members, Illustrator Akiko White, just won the prestigious first prize in the Tomie dePaola 2014 Award. There were over 200 entries and Akiko White took the top prize. Congratulations, Akiko! We are proud of you.  
Roughs: Prelimiary sketches or drawings. -- Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Writing Tips

Whew! The holidays are over. Hope you enjoyed your family as much as I did mine. Now back to writing and all the possibilities that 2014 will bring. And to get you started, here is a post by Brian Klems on the Writer’s Digest blog listing “62 of the top writing articles from 2013 (that can help you in 2014).” Listed are articles on grammar, writing better fiction, writing better characters, query letters, freelance writing, inspiration for writers, publishing, and many, many more. Be sure to take a look at some of these. 
Already my schedule is filling up with school visits, author panels, and presentations. Plus SCBWI writers’ conferences and workshops in San Antonio, Austin, Houston, and Dallas, are just around the corner. But the most important thing is to focus and make time for writing.
I went through some of my notes from the 2013 summer SCBWI conference in Los Angeles. Here are some reminders. I wish you the best in 2014! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Write every single day.
Kill the committee (boogy man).
Writing is rewriting.
Less is more.
Short is good. (5-8 pages on first chapter)
Be vulnerable – willing to go there.
Go to PAIN.
Don’t think about your writing – JUST WRITE!
Have fun!

“Good writing is clear thinking made visible.” – Bill Wheeler