Saturday, July 30, 2011

L.A. Bound

Who else is going to the SCBWI Summer Conference? Can you believe it's been a full year since the last one? Dang, the past twelve months have flown by!

In 2010,
Molly Hall and I shared "Molly and Dawn's Excellent Adventure," a series of posts about our experiences at our first L.A. conference. What will we do this year? "Molly and Dawn's
Second Excellent Adventure." (Ooh, see how creative we were with the title?!)

It will be so fun!
If you can make it to the conference, flag us down and say hi! If you can't make the trek to L.A. this year, we'll share our view of it at our joint blog party-palooza! We'll each have conference highlights and a book giveaway! Of course, nobody covers a conference like SCBWI Team Blog.

In the meantime...I'm so excited about the conference. Plus I've had too much caffeine. What to do?

I know! Let's dance!

Today's theme music is brought to you by Starbucks!

Party on!

Note: I won't be posting next weekend, but I will the following week!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

On Writing for Teens: A Tip

I'm contemplating my next project. I need a "new baby" to give my heart to, to learn from, to grow with. Something unique. I'm looking for an idea that will challenge and entertain me, a story kids will love and not find predictable.

That's a tall order. Kids are smart.


A couple weeks ago, my husband and I went on an afternoon date to the bakery. My daughter texted him. Their conversation went something like this:

Will you bring us cookies?

Have you cleaned the rabbit cage yet?


Send me a picture of a clean rabbit cage. Then I'll buy you cookies.

She sent this:

My tip: do not dumb anything down. Kids. Are. Smart.

P.S. - They got the cookies
and the cage was clean by the time we got home. Win-win. :)

Coming Soon: TURKEY TOT

One of my critique partners, Jennifer Mann, is a super talented writer and illustrator. She has been selected as the illustrator for TURKEY TOT (Holiday House), a picture book written by the much loved George Shannon.

It will be a beautiful book! When TURKEY TOT becomes available, I'll give away an autographed copy--signed by the author and the illustrator! In the meantime, I'll just say congratulations to Jen and George!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Interview with a Manuscript

Plotting and Scheming:
Look at you, all printed out! This is a very exciting day for you, I'm sure.

Yeah, it's good to be here.

Plotting and Scheming:
So are you going to tell us your name?

Not yet. Even though Dawn has a blog where she talks on and on about her writing life, she is pretty private about her work. She's weird that way.

Plotting and Scheming:
Has Dawn started querying agents with you?

No, though I have met a couple at manuscript consultations. They were like really cool yoga instructors, trying to help me become my very best--you know, suggesting where I could trim fat, where I needed strengthening. Once we start querying, I'll need to smile with my first five pages, wink with my first ten, and show a little thigh with my first fifty. I must be in prime shape for that!

Plotting and Scheming:
You're looking pretty good from here. You know, stacked.

*blushing* Honestly, nineteen pages aren't with me at the moment. Dawn and her critique group are still fine-tuning my ending. Yet here I am--most of me--in black and white. Dawn wanted to print me out because she says it's easier to see my flaws on paper at this stage. Kind of unfair, though. She used cheap paper--not what she'd send to agents who ask for hard copies. Also, she tried a cheaper ink, and it really does nothing for me. Our normal ink makes my i's pop.

Plotting and Scheming:
Let's talk fears. Do you have any?

Of course I do! Not what you might expect, though. I mean, in paper form I'm vulnerable to coffee stains and rain, and nobody likes ugly wrinkles. And don't even get me started on paper shredders--they give me the willies. But I don't have to worry about any of those things because Dawn's husband is really good about making sure I'm backed up electronically. My fear...

Plotting and Scheming:
Go ahead. You can tell us.

I fear "the drawer." I've heard of life after drawer, but it's all too scary to imagine--like ghost stories. I'm a virgin manuscript; I've never seen the inside of an agent's inbox and I don't yet know the taste of rejection. I have big plans for myself! I want an A-list agent to laugh and cry in all the right places, to be excited about me, to fall in love with me. I want him or her to see me for all I am and all I can be, to hope to submit me to all the right houses. I want my own Facebook page! I WANT TO BE A BOOK!

Plotting and Scheming:
I think that says it all.

Best of luck to everyone who is stepping into the query waters.
Dream big!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

BESTEST. RAMADAN. EVER. Giveaway - We Have a Winner!

As some of you may remember, I do my drawings old school, picking names out of a bowl. Because nothing is too good for you people, I usually hire a Blog Drawing Quality Control Officer. Okay, I don't actually hire her--the B.D.Q.C.O. is my fabulous friend Debra--but she makes everything extra fun and official-like.

Today's drawing, as you know, is for
BESTEST. RAMADAN. EVER. by Medeia Sharif.

(Flux, July 2011)

Here are action shots of the drawing:

First Debra mixes the slips of paper in the bowl o' names.

Then she draws one!



What? You can't read that? It says PAUL GRECI!

Congrats, Paul! The book will be available July 8th. Please e-mail me with your mailing address, and I'll get a copy in the mail for you by July 9th.

Medeia, thank you again for taking the time for an interview! You are so nice, and I wish you the best!