Thursday, April 22, 2010

Back to the YA while the Picture Book submissions simmer...

I just finished Gayle Forman's if i stay and my brain switched back from finishing up the last of the picture book tweaks to working on my favorite child. I enjoy writing picture books, it's the art of it that fascinates me...the painting pictures with words. Keeping a 4 year old's attention with my quirky jump roping squirrel, Benny, is brilliant bliss. But YA is living and breathing inside of me at all times!

I walked away from this latest manuscript almost a month just needed to gel. I wanted to be able to READ it like a teen would, not like the writer who already knows what is going to happen.

I really connected with Forman's interview in the back of the book when she talks about how a "total stranger popped into [her] consciousness." That is exactly how I met M, my character. I sat down to take my mind off of the days stresses and I started to type...a sort of stream of consciousness. That's when I wrote this:

"His eyes were pale, pained and hopeless. His Manson t-shirt was torn down the center and stitched back together with dozens of safety pins. Was this the state of his soul? Held together by something sharp and painful? His eyebrow twitched, he spit at my feet and turned and walked away. This was the boy I loved."

That's when you know...Gayle Forman will agree.
You just "KNOW!"

I'm off for a husband's-night-to-take-care-of-the-kids writing conference of my own. Just me, my iPod, my memories from my 1st job, the high school art room filled with students I will never forget and my laptop. It's like meeting an old friend for coffee...I can't wait to "hear" what happens next!

Managing Submissions

I've got myself in quite a pickle!
Because I am very impatient and have a creative mind that NEVER shuts off I have sort of shot myself in the foot..maybe.
Four years ago when I wrote my first book and started submitting, I got into a nasty habit of collecting only a handful of rejections before putting THAT book on hold and starting something new.
Therefore, I have collected about 15-20 picture book manuscripts in varying degrees of completion.
A writer-friend of mine recently told me about a friend of hers who had never written anything, never gone to a conference, never read how-tos for the children's publishing industry but she garnered herself a book deal with the VERY FIRST THING SHE HAD EVER WRITTEN!
She simply sat down with the CWIM and started at "A" and went clear to "Z" making a list of all of those publishers whose needs fit her book. She got one call. ONE. From Walker & Co.
Walker! "W"
Had she stopped after "M" she would STILL be wallowing in self-pity...maybe...I would be! LOL!
I don't give up easily - obviously - I have been at this for FOUR YEARS and counting.
So today I decided to sit down and do the same thing. I chose my TOP 5 favorite picture books I have written and I am making a list. I am making a list in a way that I can simply cc and paste the publisher's address into my Query letter and hit PRINT....then on to the next one.
I have also given myself specifics that I can add into my query like, looking for special needs stories, want to inspire and ignite a passion for reading, etc.
My list looks something like this:
Helen Harriss
Freesone/Peachtree, Jr.
Peachtree Publishers
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30318-2112
*animals, folktales, special needs, humor
*send full MS?
*responds to queries/mss in 6 mos
Thomas J. Greene, Publisher
Greene Bark Press
P.O. Box 1108
Bridgeport, CT 06601-1108
*originality, imagery & color. Intention is to fire up a child’s imagination
*prefers full MS w/ illustrations
Health Press NA, Inc.
P.O. Box 37470
Albuquerque, NM 87176-7479
*complete MS
*responds in 3 mos
*100% 1st time authors
*simult subs
So, 37 years from now when I have made my rounds with these 5 books, I will tell you how it went!
Happy Writing!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Henrietta Hamsterface WIP

Worked on her today instead of cleaning my house - gotta love the artist's life!