Monday, October 29, 2012

Down to the last page of notes...

Last Saturday I attended the New England SCBWI Encore Writer's Workshop. I am 0 for 3 for successful navigations of Providence, but I am inspired and knowledgable from the experience, so I call it a win!

There were a TON of key notes that all authors/writers can really benefit. The workshop had a Middle Grade-Young Adult edge to it, so there wasn't a lot of focus on the Picture Book writing, but I can see how I could apply the advice to my personal writings. Some of the key points addressed:

  • Write, write, write, write and then write some more.
  • READ! <-- Pretend that was shouted. Read everything you can get your hands on... specifically works from your genre.
  • Read it, even if you think/have heard it's going to be crap. LEARN from that writer's mistakes.
  • Uh, re-write... a lot.
  • Critique groups are necessary; start one or one! You need someone other than your mother/friends/coworkers/etc. playing the editor's eyes and giving you concrete criticism. <-- This is actually a big bullet point to took away from the "Overcoming Obstacles" panel I attended about 3 weeks ago.
The bullets here barely graze all my notes. The majority of what took away from this workshop was specifically about dealing with dialog. This is most certainly something I need to work on. Outside of High School, I have limited practice with writing classes, so dialog isn't an area in which I am formally trained. I walked (or rather drove,) away from the workshop intrigued with some of the notes I picked up that day. 

The 12+ pages of chicken scratch I cart around now will receive some more note friends in a couple months: SCBWI Annual Winter Conference is just around the corner. I'm all signed up and eager to learn some more. That will require a new notebook.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Website Update!

I've updated my website! I've changed the overall look of the site and swapped out a few pieces.

In other news, I am planning to attend the SCBWI's Winter Conference again... you know if I can sign up. Just remember that 10am PDT = 1pm EST! I will be all over registration on Friday! Hope to meet some of you there!


Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Library Day: Oct 9, 2012

Early trip to the library! 9 picture books to flip through this fortnight:

  • Ella Takes the Cake, by Carmela & Steven D'Amico
  • Mitchell's License, by Hallie Durand, illustrated by Tony Fucile
  • Augie to Zebra, by Kate Endle and Caspar Babypants
  • When My Baby Dreams, by Adele Enersen, spot ills by Jennifer Rozbruch*
  • Kitten's First Full Moon, by Kevin Henkes
  • Dog in Charge, by K.L. Going, illustrated by Dan Santat
  • The Man Who Walked Between The Towers, by Mordicai Gerstein
  • 999 Tadpoles, by Ken Kimura, illustrated by Yasunari Murakami
  • Mary Had a Little Lamp, by Jack Lechner, illustrated by Bob Staake
* My goal as an illustrator is really to get a sense of other illustrators' styles, familiarize myself with classic and modern stories, and learn about the flow and composition of a book. For this, I typically gravitate towards illustrated picture books, of a "traditional media". I've included this in my picture book selection to get a grasp on Enersen's inspired thinking. When My Baby Dreams is a recent release and the talk of the town in pop culture. The concept behind this book is clever, and let's face it, incredibly cute: 

Though I'm attracted towards illustrations, this is a smart idea for children's literature. For me this is new media/sculpture. Still-life, 3-Dimentional illustration, and sculpture have been around for... forever. Using life as props/sculptural elements to complete a story from page-to-page is well done here.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

The Spinal Project

So since JUNE (last post date,) what I have I been doing?

I want to say I've been sitting at "one of those box-y things, with the four legs and writing/drawing" That's where I spend most of my time: the desk. 90% of my summer was eaten up by sitting and looking. And then I wonder why I'm so out of shape....

My concrete answer: I've been pushing around a heavy load at work-work, on top of the usual doodling and reading I preform at home. I've grown an addiction to the library which only becomes inconvenient when my "Lie-Berry" day lands on a Holiday or extended weekend. I think I can make it about 10 days before I throw my hands up into the air and cheer out "LIE-BERRY DAY!" I plan to share "Lie-Berry" day with the blog world, as I do with my other read'n blog: I want everyone to know what I'm reading/admiring.

So what is "Lie-Berry" Day? This is the day I head over to the town library and pick out a stack of picture books (usually about 10-12) and gawk at them. A standard picture book is about 32 pages, so I usually get antsy for a new stack of libros every 7-10 days.

Honestly haven't been tracking my Children's Lit picks as closely as my "grown-up" reads, but I realize that needs to change. Flipping through the cubbies of books every week or so, I'm lucky I can identify those read, with those yet to be visited. To fix this I plan to shoot the book spines and post them here.

This week is a little thinner than usual, as I picked up some non-picture-esque research books as well (those aren't quite as exciting). I'm reading:

  • The Hello, Goodbye Window, by Norton Juster; illustrations by Chris Raschka
  • The Gruffalo, by Julia Donaldson; illustrations by Axel Scheffler
  • Strega Nona, by Tomie dePaola (a & i)
  • The Little Piano Girl, by Ann Ingalls and Maryann Macdonald; illustrations by Giselle Potter
  • Mei Li, by Thomas Handforth (a & i)
  • Squids Will Be Squids, by Jon Scieszka (a), Lane Smith (i), and design by Molly Leach