Wednesday, October 31, 2012
The sun came out briefly today in NYC. I have never been so excited to see blue sky. But quickly the clouds have rolled back in.
As I was holed up in my Brooklyn apartment during the storm, I could not help but think about all of the other creatives doing what they could to maintain some semblance of normalcy as we waited and waited. Some, I am sure, were using their laptops, getting as much written and saved as possible before a power outage. Others were probably using pens, pencils, paper and other archaic materials. I am sure it is only a matter of time before we see all that was "created" during this time.
All in all, NYC has faired well and you can be sure we will come back better than ever soon.
Today is Halloween. The Greenwich Village Parade which is an annual fixture was canceled. And honestly, I am still reeling from some of the real life horrors, that Halloween is far from my mind.
I was going to post about Halloween Picture Books and have others weigh in with their favorites. But Tara Lazar and Peter Adam Salomon do a great job of that today at http://taralazar.com/2012/10/31/pre-pibo-day-7-peter-adam-salomon/. (btw, quick reminder that PiBoIdMo starts tomorrow, so sign up!)
Instead, as my own mind tries to grasp the long road ahead of so many of us, I realize that books are a HUGE help on this journey. Bookstores did a great business before the storm and some even rode it out. My local indie bookstore was open to provide some much needed escapism in paper form.
The Red Cross asked residents of Brooklyn to chip in and help a local shelter which was in need of towels and...wait for it...BOOKS! Immediately Greenlight Bookstore in the Fort Greene neighborhood Tweeted, "You guys provide the towels, we are on our way with the books!" Doesn't that warm your heart?
And books don't just provide an escape, they also help us process. Both in the writing and the reading.
So, this brings me to today's Weigh In.
What are some Picture Books about "real life tragedies"? Or books that give comfort when the world is a scary place?
I know some were written around Hurricane Katrina and others about WWII. Weigh in and let me know. Afterall, its time to brainstorm for PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) and I know this tragedy is front and center in my mind.
Monday, October 29, 2012
Thank goodness! Because this is how the brilliant Renata Liwska chose to illustrate those lines:
The moose’s self-portrait on the wall is one of my favorite parts of the book. If Renata had been limited to showing a green crayon, she might not have come up with that idea--what self-respecting moose draws himself in green? The green crayon business was completely gratuitous. It would have tied Renata’s hands. And the book would have been diminished.
When I finally had the pleasure of meeting Renata in person, she said that the spareness of The Quiet Book text had appealed to her, that it had allowed her to immediately begin seeing pictures in her head. She said that if there’s too much description, she feels as if she’s tracing a line that’s already been drawn. If you were an illustrator, would you rather trace or create?
Friday, October 26, 2012
When a writer shares their work with someone with the intent of critique it can be quite daunting. Afterall, each writer thinks of their manuscripts as one of their children. But in Mira's hands, manuscripts are nurtured and cared for.
It is my great pleasure to introduce you to a truly fabulous lady and friend...Dr. Mira Reisberg!
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be an artist. This was in the days when being an artist was like being a criminal and pretty much confined you to a life of poverty. My dad who had been in Paris after the war and seen the starving artists there would say, “Artist shmartist. Be a teacher!” And here I am many years later - an artist, a writer, and a teacher to many award-winning and best-selling authors and illustrators.
Want tofind out more about Mira and receive special offers? Here’s the link to subscribe to her fun gift-filled newsletter http://eepurl.com/hJCmQ
next online class starts on October 29th and there are only 6 slots left! Sign up at http://www.picturebookacademy.com/writing-childrens-picture-books.html. Mira says, "I won’t be running it again for a while because I’ll be developing and teaching an illustration e-Course next February." You don't want to be left out!
Thursday, October 25, 2012
So the winner is...
LISA NAGEL (@anythingbooks)!!!!!
Congrats, Lisa! And thanks for Following!
And a special thank you to Corey Rosen Schwartz for the generous prize. :) KIYA!
See you all tomorrow for a special Friendspiration Friday!
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
It has nothing to do with the US Presidential election.
It has nothing to do with Thanksgiving (although, its a darn good holiday!)
It has to do with a month of challenges.
If you are a novelist, consider joining NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). This challenge sets out to "provide the support, encouragement, and good old-fashioned kick in the pants you need to write the rough draft of your novel in November."
And if you are a picture book writer (as yours truly!) consider registering for PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month). This challenge, created by the ever talented and truly amazing Tara Lazar, finds participants writing one picture book idea a day for 30 days. Lazar states, " You might think of a clever title. Or a name for a character. Or just a silly thing like “purple polka-dot pony.” The object is to heighten your picture-book-idea-generating senses. Ideas may build upon other ideas and your list of potential stories will grow stronger as the days pass." Those who sign-up for Picture Book Idea Month will be eligible for prizes—like feedback from one of four literary agents and critiques from picture book editors!
So, the year is not over yet!
Writers, Weigh In! What will you do to keep your writing muse busy? Pick your acronym and let's get to creating!
Happy Writing everyone!
Monday, October 22, 2012
At the New Jersey SCBWI Conference in June I was able to attend Sudipta's session on Picture Book Pacing and I have to say, this "chick" knows her stuff! She's a natural teacher.
The Science World does not know what they are missing, but we are lucky to have her in the PB World with her gift of humor, her sense of style and her amazing stilletos!
I am honored to have Sudipta on the blog today as part of the WriWOPi series.
W-R-O-N-G. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
If you’re an author who writes without pictures, that realization might make you uneasy, or even sad. How can someone so easily give up creative control of a project she has brought to life? How can she agree to be relegated to co-creator instead of sole creator?
Look at the terror on the animals’ faces in HAMPIRE:
All the words say is that “the critters braced for Hampire’s fangs,” but what Howard Fine has done is crystallize that moment of terror – and then heighten in with subliminal details. Look at all those sharp, painful farm implements in the background, each one capable of ripping a body to shreds – just like the Hampire can? Maybe?
Each of my picture books, well, it’s not MY picture book, no matter what I may have thought.
Friday, October 19, 2012
How do you entice teachers to want to use your book year after year?
I can develop a guide for you to share with teachers and librarians, as well as tailored lessons and activities that you can use for your Author Visits.
Marcie Colleen has a bachelor’s degree in Education of English and Language Arts from Oswego State Unversity and a Masters degree in Educational Theater from New York University. She is a former classroom teacher in New York State. She has served as a curriculum creator for the Central New York Institute of Aesthetic Education, Syracuse Stage, Tony Randall’s National Actors Theater, and various Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, as well as the International Lysistrata Project in 2003. She was the Director of Education for TADA! Youth Theater in NYC creating and managing educational programming reaching over 30,000 students and families in the NYC Metro area a year. She lives in Brooklyn, NY and is swiftly chasing the dream to picture book publication for her own stories.
Monday, October 15, 2012
I first met Amy through the PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) community. Although she lives across the country I felt a certain kinship based on a few of our passions: writing and running. I was especially excited to learn that her debut picture book (releasing tomorrow!) was about a little determined mouse named Preston who sets out to run the NYC Marathon! Needless to say, Preston has been a source of inspiration for me these last few months as I set out to complete the same goal.
So, run...don't walk to purchase MARATHON MOUSE written by Amy Dixon, illustrated by Sam Denlinger and published by Sky Pony Press.
Please welcome a new member of the PUBLISHED Picture Book author community, Amy Dixon! And a huge congratulations to you, my friend!
In the picture book writing community, I've often been a part of conversations that include some form of this comment:
"Wouldn't it be soooo much easier if we were just writers AND illustrators? Then we could make our manuscripts look exactly the way we want!"
Friday, October 12, 2012
I like the second option.
So what should you do?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me you have a Friendspiration you would like to introduce us to.
Then you are well on your way to Guest Blogging on a future Friday!!!
You choose the person. You choose the format. You can even borrow the same interview questions I asked.
Its that easy. And it feels good to honor someone else.
So step up.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
The Winner chosen through random.org is....
Kathy Ellen Davis!!!!!
Send me an email at email@example.com with your contact info, Kathy Ellen.
Now, for Wednesday Writers Weigh In.
The question to ponder today is
"How does where you live influence, if at all, your writing?"
Monday, October 8, 2012
If you haven't read BOY + BOT yet, you really should. Its a perfect example of simplicity in language, weighing in at around 240 words. It is a true testament to the need for a flawless marriage between words and art.
Ame is also one of the funniest, wackiest and most generous people I know. She quickly agreed to come share her journey with us...as well as provide a fabulous Give-Away!
For a chance to win a Bot-astic Prize Package which includes a signed copy of BOY + BOT, as well as other fabulous swag...please become a Follower of this blog and leave a comment below. A winner will be chosen on Tuesday at 12noon EST.
Ame, take it away!
You know when the team captains go back-and-forth choosing players, until there’s just one smallish person left that nobody wants?
I don’t mean dodge ball. (I’m halfway decent at dodge ball, unless I get a story idea in the middle of a game.)
I’m The Worst Pictionary Player on the Planet. (Title pending. The Guinness folks are coming tomorrow.)
I like to draw. But it’s nigh impossible for me to draw something that resembles what I actually set out to draw.
THE KID (peering over my shoulder): “Is that a bumblebee?”
I’ll give you another example—with a picture I drew. (Please don your safety goggles now.)
In the early stages of BOY + BOT, my lovely Knopf editor, Michele Burke, approached me with a possible idea for the endpapers of our book.
So if you’re Illustrating Challenged like me, how can we show our appreciation for the folks—THANK YOU, DAN!—who’re responsible for bringing our characters to loveable (and recognizable) life?
(Yells from mountaintop.) “Write text that will be FUN TO ILLUSTRATE-ATE-ate…!”
Here are some of my favorite tricks:
Wow. I could hear you groan from here.
Wear clothes with pockets.
Then whenever you get a minute, take your manuscript out and cross out three words—just three little unneeded descriptive words!—before you put it away again.
(Don’t know what this thing is, but I caught it eating manuscript remnants in my washing machine last week.)
Struggling with what goes in text and what goes in art notes? In addition to studying your weekly Mountain of Picture Books, here’s a little extra homework that always helps me:
Seriously! Watch cartoons, paying particular attention to what the narrator says, what the characters say, and what doesn’t need to be said because it’s shown. (And try not to rub it in to your kids. “Oh, you have math for your homework? I have cartoons!”)