Thursday, October 22, 2009

These are a few of my FAVORITE THINGS...

So many things play into WHAT I write and what I DRAW... inspiration is everywhere! If I wrote in my notebook EVERY time a story line, character or new concept idea came to mind, I would NEVER get off my office chair! (Not that that would be a bad thing!)

I try to jot down everything that I like enough to spend a lot of time on...sometimes it is in a journal/notebook/sketchbook, sometimes it's in the driveway in sidewalk chalk. Sometimes it's on slips of paper or napkins that I stuff in my purse and then tape into my journal/notebook/sketchbook.

I had a writer professor who would say, "One could NEVER write every story that came to one lives that long!" This struck me as it made me realize how "in tune" we need to be with our creative side. ANYTHING and EVERYTHING can become a story...but only the author can select JUST THE RIGHT ONE and make that story her own!

So, no more procrastinating! I have 500 words to cut out of my newest manuscript and a book dummy to create! Back to the drawing board...LITERALLY!

While I write - you can peek at what keeps my muse happy...

Painted baby fingers.


Grumpy toddlers.

Simple nature.

My Sunday morning (BreakAway 56) tweens.

Funny PRANK cakes I have made.

My student's projects.

Heavenly Amish-made desserts.

My countryside surroundings.

And, of course, sidewalk chalk!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Brilliant Talent...and a GREAT man!

As I create this new is helpful to look into the studio of someone great!
And here he is!

Inside the studio of... PETER H. REYNOLDS


SCBWI Eastern PA Fall Philly Conference 2009

There is nothing more inspiring for a children's writer than walking into a room filled with writers, artists, editors, agents and lots and lots of children's books hot off the press.

This was my 3rd year at the conference and my 1st year as a volunteer. The conference is held on a Saturday in the fall at a country club within 30 minutes from my house.
This year because I scheduled the manuscript critiques and portfolio reviews, I was invited to spend Friday evening at a dinner that SCBWI Easter PA puts on for its faculty. So, Friday night I sat down with my volunteer partners and some very influential people in the children's writing world.

Scott Treimel/agent STNY
Alexandra Penfold/editor Paula Wiseman Books
Noa Wheeler/editor Henry Holt
Timothy Travaglini/editor GP Putnam Sons
Wendy Mays & Janice Onken/art reps WendyLynn & Co
David Wiesner/ Author/Illustrator
Debbie Dadey/ Author
Lee Harper/ Author/Illustrator
Catherine Gilbert Murdock/ Author

The weekend was amazing!

I had sent my newest project BENNY KEPT BOUNCING to a faculty member prior to the conference along with the other manuscripts I received from many amazing authors. We met @ 10am and and chatted about revisions. I will be sending my revised manuscript in the form of a book dummy within the next month.

Later in the day I had a wonderful meeting with Wendy Mays and Janice Onken. We sat overlooking a sunny day on the golf course and pages through my portfolio. They had a special love for one of my characters. The funny thing is, this particular character is the one I doodle ALL THE TIME.

Being trained as an art teacher has one major draw back; in my training I did not have the course time to focus on a specific style, therefore I have never been sure of what my "style" is. In speaking to Wendy and Janice I had one of those "forest for the trees" moments. We were talking about the Macy-Sue character that they were so enamoured by and I commented that I love that character, too but I almost felt like it was cheating because that "style" (hmmm, did I actually HAVE a distinct style?) comes so naturally to me. I described it as, "Those kinds of characters just seem to slow out of me and onto the paper."

Wendy looked at me and said with a grin, something along the lines of, Well, then you do, in fact have a style!

I caught up with the faculty member who critqued my manuscript and we quickly chatted about the book dummy. I revealed the style that Wendy and Janice preferred. So, it looks like I will be sending the new and improved BENNY in the book dummy. That new Benny flowed from my hand and onto a lined piece of paper yesterday during my daughter's gymnastic class.

So, nose to the grindstone. Lots of refining. Even more cutting and polishing. That much closer to touching a child's life through my gifts!