Filtering by Tag: learning to write

Write, Revise, Water, Rinse, & Repeat.

The month of April, in retrospect, has been filled with a couple of activities on repeat. Write, Revise, Critique Group, Repeat.  My newest MS has been well received by two out of the three critique groups.  This most recent MS has been a huge eye opener. I can see the leaps and bounds I’ve made in my writing, my understanding of storytelling, and my over all confidence in creating a great MS. The starting draft was less bumpy, we’ll see how the middle drafts go. :) I’ve been playing this video on repeat to keep me motivated. 

I’m looking forward to my first Monday of the month critique group. The make-up of this group is two author/illustrators and “I can only draw a stick figure” me.  The two talented author/illustrators in my group were able to shed light on my older MS in a way I hadn’t expected. It was refreshing. Plus we use Google+ Hangout, this way I can see their pretty faces. We use Google+ Hangout in my other critique group as well. I am thrilled technologies like this exist. Google+ Hangout makes it a little bit more possible for me to be a little less of an isolated writer.  This has greatly benefited the development of my craft. 

March and April also shuttled in the next stage of my new writing career. I began to more seriously prepare for submission to agents.  Thanks to the supportive 12X12 community forum, I was able to have a query letter critiqued. I went through three major revisions of one letter with a significant amount of critiquing from the forum group. This was a fantastic way to get a handle on how exactly to compose a letter of this particular nature. I can safely say the letter began as an untamed monkey and I may have it trained enough to stop throwing banana peels at my head- not necessarily stopping it from throwing peels at me in general.  

With my first polished MS in hand and a query letter crafted, I submitted to an agent who was taking submissions from the 12X12 group. I’ve spent a fair amount of time researching agents and was thrilled to see they were on the 12X12 list. Given it was a short window of two weeks, I opted to go ahead and submit. I’ve not heard back as of yet but I’ve already learned a ton by simply submitting.

I understand agents are overworked and have huge slush piles to get through, I made it a priority to ensure I was avoiding novice mistakes. That said, I’m a novice so I might not have even seen the mistake! But I’ve got to start somewhere, my apologies in advance if I stumble and my mistake finds its way in your slush pile.  The ether of the publishing world is often hazy. I’ve been following The Query Shark for awhile now, can not stress enough how awesome this blog has been in helping navigate the ether. 

Speaking of the 12X12 community, sometime in the middle of May I’ll be featured on the Tuesday’s Blog. I wrote a little blog post a month or so ago. I’ll post a link as soon as its up! Pretty excited.  I also turn 30 in the middle of May, it all seems to be rounding out perfectly. Especially, given on April 30th we celebrated the Czech tradition of burning a fake witch over a HUGE bond fire to rid the air of winter. Spring is here and summer is near! 

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Well it has been nearly a month since the SCBWI New York Conference. I can say I went, I saw, and I left knowing exactly what I’m meant to do forevermore.  There was every fiber of me that was nervous about not only reading my MS during roundtables, but also, attending the event.  

There was a huge amount that I learned and there is no question that it wasn’t one of the best decisions I made for my new career.  Not enough can be said about the friendships and connections made. I’ve always been a bit of an odd duck, but there I was among folks that I instantly bonded with. Going to the NY14 SCBWI conference made me feel a lot more prepared, a lot less isolated, and more inspired than I imagined. 

My favorite key note was without question Jack Gantos.  As a youngly I was swept away by Rotten Ralph. It was a surreal moment to then be inspired again as an adult and a writer by Mr. Gantos. His writing had a profound influence on me at a particular moment in my childhood, a time when I needed humor the most. Flash forward 21 years and there I was sitting in the audience and at a crossroads with my picture book MS. Mr Gantos, words were helping me as a writer to create a better character, plot, and over all picture book.   It was FANTASTIC! 

Here is hoping I can swing the LA Conference in August! 

After a quick trip in New York and Boston (to see my Mother, Step-Father and Brother and try on my wedding dress). I jetted to Miami to meet my dear friend Kate for a four day musical festival cruise!  As evidenced by this photo we Lived Loud! 

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Prep for #NY14SCBWI & 12 X 12!

Excuse all the jargon in the header but it makes me feel more in the know. 

It has been one busy couple of weeks (has it been more than a week, I’m not sure). I’m in full prep for the SCBWI 2014 NYC Conference. After a complete revision of the only MS I’ve been working on for the roundtable intensive, I’ve found myself in a holding pattern.

I received a great critique of the latest version from Jackie Wellington (A critique partner found through WriteCon, who has read every version of my story. I owe her so many thanks for her critiques, encouragements, and friendship ). Now I’m just waiting to hear from the ever inspiring Esther Hershenhorn and the fantastic service I’m nervous but feeling confident in this new revision. Hopefully they also think its up to snuff for the roundtable.

Don’t worry, I don’t scare away from further revisions but I’m hoping I won’t be doing to much of that over the next 13 days. 

During this brief two-day self induced revision freeze, I’ve been researching editors and agents in prep of the conference.  Studying how to pitch (which I’m freaking out about). 

I finished up my new fancy website (can’t wait to someday add a section titled published books). 

All I had left to do was create my biz cards, which I enjoyed doing today. WEEEEE!!!!! 

In a rush of caffeine in the basement of a Starbucks, I went ahead and joined the 12 X 12: 12 Picture Books in 12 Months.  Considering how new I am to this entire thing, I joined as a Margaret Wise BRONZE member.   The idea is that in a 12 month period you produce a picture book a month. This doesn’t mean a polished picture book but a MS.  I’m looking forward to connecting with everyone who has opted to participate this year. More than anything, I’m looking forward to the challenge.  Why go half way, I guess???? 

P.S. Any of the 12 X 12 going to the  NYC SCBWI conference in a couple of weeks? I wish there were some sticker to wear so I could meet folks in person. Is there and I just don’t know about it? 

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