Tag Archives: Writing

#AmWriting…Just not on my Blog

Distil — To separate or extract the essential elements of

That’s what I’ve been struggling with in my manuscript these past months. When there are so many issues a protagonist is dealing with, so many story points the reader needs to know, so much happening in the plot…what do I choose to put down on the page. How do I distil the crucial points, extract the essential elements, to produce a streamlined gripping narrative that satisfies the reader’s appetite while ensuring my story’s progress.

One of the blog posts that has been a great help to me is:
The Stuff Between Scenes by Deborah Halverson

Now my story’s heating up, I can’t wait to see what remains when the winter air cools my distilled words.

54 — Here There Be Heroes and Giants and Men Made of Stinky Cheese

WHERE ELSE…

…would you find children’s writers who loom larger than life with titles such as National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, and think nothing of knocking you out of your chair with their straight-faced humor till you roll in the aisles holding your stomach, groaning with excessive mirth?

Jon Scieszka

Author Jon Scieszka delivers the opening keynote address for SCBWI 2010



…would you hear famous authors sing fictitious State anthems, in litanical form, so roguish in nature as to elicit a letter from said state’s horrified governor addressing said author as “buster?”

M. T. Anderson

Author M. T. Anderson sings his version of the Delaware State Song




…would you meet hordes of old friends and make new ones over quesadillas and drink tickets and bald patches of lawn at a party where the top names in publishing, agenting, writing, and illustrating for young people mingle casually, all outfitted in red?


Julia Shahin Collard and Friends

Julia Shahin Collard and her illustrator friends chowing down on Mexican food at the Heart and Soul Poolside Gala




Arthur Levine and I

The Grand Pooh Bah himself, Arthur A. Levine…with little ole me.




Nancy O'Connor

Critique buddy Nancy O’Connor savoring a heart cookie



Central Cal Gals

The Central Cal Gals set the night on fire




…would the photographer look more glamorous than the photographees?

Rita Crayon Huang

Photographer and schmooze coordinator Rita Crayon Huang elegantly documents the event for posterity




…would the Queen of Hearts have to win her crown by dancing across a stage handing out buttons to the crowd?

Tina Nicols Coury and Court

Tina Nicols Coury holds court as Queen of Hearts




…would the King of Hearts win yours with a story and a song?

Ashley Bryan

Golden Kite Winner Ashley Bryan reads from his beautiful picture book




…would the giants of storytelling and magic-weaving embrace newbies, encourage them with uplifting words, and bless them with a smile?

Gail Carson Levine

Gail Carson Levine enchanted the book I asked her to sign!




…would gifted writers do almost anything to encourage a child to read?

Gennifer Choldenko

Gennifer Choldenko holds up her book for my little friend Minori




…would friends from near and far meet to toast the future?

Nancy O'Connor-Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Critique buddy Nancy O’Connor and award-winning illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi toast our tradition of spending the last evening in the wonderful Rock Sugar restaurant




Fred and Stefanie

Fred Sisson and award-winning illustrator Stephanie Roth Sisson compete with YVL models on tour…and win!




…would award-winnng authors let you share in their victory?

Julia Durango

Julia Durango and her Golden Kite award-winning book spoke on 10 ways to bring your story back from the dead!



…would guardian angels really come true?

Lin Oliver and Me

The one and only Lin Oliver, star of the show, glittering guardian angel of all children’s writers and illustrators

SCBWI Annual Summer Conference 2010 will long be remembered!




Words Worth Repeating:

“Do congratulate yourself for being here.” Jon Scieszka

M. T. Anderson loves “those books that take us away from what we expect and allow us to see our own world as new.”
“That is the place where the giant brain rests.” M. T. Anderson…you had to be there.

Carolyn Mackler wants you to know your protagonist intimately. What does she keep hidden in her underwear drawer?

“As artists we need to fill ourselves to overflowing, then give it all back.” E. B. Lewis

“Be patient with your ideas. None of them are dumb.” Gail Carson Levine

“Research the edges of your subject. Stereotypes live in the middle.” Sue Bartoletti

“Don’t let form dictate content. Keep yourself open. You never know what you might find. Have faith in the process.” Deborah Heiligman

“Knowing how your character feels physically changes how you write. We write to live in the mind of another.”
“The scene you’re avoiding is a scene your book needs. You have to rub it like a bruise.” Rachel Vail

“Human beings need stories. We always have, we always will.”
“Look for the door in your story and walk through it.”
Gennifer Choldenko

“Wow! That’s a lot of red!” Rilla

Some related links:

SCBWI Team Blog

PW Article on SCBWI Annual Conference

SCBWI Southern California

Kite Tales

Dear Editor by Deborah Halverston
Deborah Halverston’s downloadable handout

Inky Girl-Daily Diversions for Writers by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
Debbie Ridpath Ohi discusses the comments the judges had on each of the images in her awardx2-winning portfolio! Very educational.

Stephanitely–Blog scribbles by Stephanie Roth Sisson

Arthur A. Levine Books

Pen and Ink Blog

Tammi Sauer

Susan Kaye Quinn blogs about the Conference

Greg Pincus and the Happy Accident

I’m Here, I’m Queer What the Hell do I read by Lee Wind

Alice Pope’s CWIM Blog

Ken Min Illustrator

Sherrie Peterson writes about the conference

Rita Crayon Huang’s photos of the conference

Marilyn Donahue

Julia Shahin Collard, Illustrator


52 — How to Not-Suck at Writing


Get an editor!


The amazing Arthur A. Levine enlightening attendees of the SCBWI-LA Working Writer’s Retreat, 2009

Not so easy.

I know all about that!

So, despite never having won a lottery, (I even missed out on a door prize I had won because I was in the restroom at the time) I have entered into the drawing for a free substantive edit of a completed manuscript generously being offered by Deborah Halverson at her blog — Dear Editor.

If you’re interested, the deadline is midnight of April 14, so hop to it.

Wish me luck! And, the same to you.

A big thank you to my dear friend Tricia at Talespinning for spreading the word.