Thursday, April 30, 2009

Nat'l Picture Book Writing Week (May 1-7)

Love NaNoWriMo but you're a picture book writer and you don't think a 50,000 word picture book would fly?

Well, Paula Yoo has the answer! NaPiBoWriWee. Fun to say, huh?

The first annual National Picture Book Writing Week starts tomorrow. Think seven books in seven days! Read all about it HERE.

Plus, Paula, who is a member of SCBWI Team Blog, will be pulling together an informal gathering at the SCBWI Summer conference for those who participate.

Happy writing!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

SCBWI 38th Annual Summer Conference...Don't Miss It

It's almost time to BLAST OFF!

Start the countdown. Plug it into your favorite digital device. Jot it down on your wall calendar. May 5 is the date. Circle it. Highlight it. Set your alarms!

Only 7 more days until registration opens for SCBWI's 38th Annual Summer Conference. Conference info, faculty, and schedule is now available for your perusing and drooling on So, get prepared. You don't want to miss your opportunity to get yourself registered pronto.

Special note: If you are at all interested in the Premium Workshops, don't delay. Study them now, know what's expected, and be ready to register immediately because they sell out beyond fast. If it says, "Space is extremely limited!" (as is Linda Sue Parks session Scene: The Building-Block of Fiction) they mean it.

I couldn't be more thrilled to be attending this year as part of SCBWI Team Blog, led by the lovely Alice Pope. I've added a blog roll of the entire rockin' team so that you can link to them easily and often. I'll also let you know whenever one of them posts about the conference. We will all be doing much pre-conference blogging, which will include interviews with keynoters and other faculty, former conference attendees, first timers, and hopefully some helpful preparation information. Well, I guess you should just know that we'll be telling you a lot and you won't want to miss out on any of the fun. And we're all busy doing our finger calisthenics in order to be ready to blog our fingers off once we're there!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Does Yelling Work?

This post was started on 4/10. I'm just getting back to it now on. I'm leaving what I had already written but will pick up and interject with italics.

Life has been too, too crazy, complicated, and sad lately. (The fact that it's taken me over two weeks to return to this post is proof. I really didn't think it had been that long.) So much so that it has my brain scrambled. I just now realized I outed myself about yelling at my main character the other day. I then promised that I would tell you how that worked for me. (I feel like Dr. Phil..."How's that working for you?" know what that answer usually is.)

It's just hard to stay on course with anything at the moment. Today I drove past the street I needed to turn on not once, but twice. I mean...come on!

But I'm getting back on course with this post (Obviously, I was severely knocked back off! At least I had a positive attitude.) and I will tell you how the yelling worked. Or maybe I won't, because I'm not sure I have an answer. I did end up getting some answers, but I wound up taking a new approach. I guess it felt a little like parenting. You know, when you realize you've snapped at your kid and it wasn't their fault, so you excuse yourself to get a grip. I think I posted about the yelling in order to get a grip--a sort of writerly time out.
And, I did. Get it together, that is.

Okay, now you're going to think I'm nutty (although, maybe you do the same things and we can share in the nuttiness).

I kept the dialogue (yelling included) open on my working doc. I apologized (yes, I did) and started the conversation over, this time without the YELLING. And wouldn't you know it, I got some answers.

I may not have gotten a lot, but I got something. I guess there's something to be learned about asking politely.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Monday Moment #16

The news is good and bad. For this, my 16th Monday Moment, I had many thoughts on topics. This is good! However, many of those topics were such bummers (shutting down, pet peeves big and small, lack of sleep). I know! Completely Debbie Downer mode from someone who always claims to be the Polly Positive type.

But back to the GOOD. Even though the topics were a bit blech, they were topics that came easily. Easily, I tell ya. Let's just say, nothing's come easily this last month. But today I'm look forward to a working day--a writing day. Yip...yip...yow. It feels as if my mind is slowly moving back to that writerly place. It's been way too long. I've missed you, writerly place.
See, the Polly Positive is reemerging. Hello, lost friend. Okay, so she's really been there all along. You can probably tell that. And if you know me personally, you know. That's just me.

How about your main character? Do they tend to lean toward the positive or negative? Glass half full or half empty. And how does it impact how they move through their world?
(Hey, that prompt wasn't even what I initially planned, but I like it. It's all good.)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday Moment #15

Before I jump right into Monday Moment #15, let me first say...I hope I'm on my way back. It's been quite obvious there has been minimal attention to the blog. And, believe it or not, there has been less writing happening. I'm so very much looking forward to getting back to work, to my writing schedule, to my characters, and to regular blog postings. (I actually have a post I started two Fridays ago, letting you know how the yelling worked, I've still not had time to return to it.)

(Here is where the technical difficulty came in. The post was written and done and ready to post before seven this morning. But for some reason, it didn't let me and when I returned to the post, all that was left was the first paragraph. Grrrr! Now I have to try and remember what the rest said and it will never be as good as it was, because that's just the law of things. Okay...on with it.)

My process with these Monday Moment prompts usually stem from something that happens in my life, or at least that has been the case so far. But I've been creating these prompts for myself for a long time and they don't always come from my own life. Sometimes they come from what I see on reality TV (yes, I watch!), scripted TV, or reading. I recently started Maureen Johnson's BERMUDEZ TRIANGLE. I love the way she described/introduced a character, a boy I'm sure must be a love interest. She painted such a clear picture of him and where he comes with very few words. My favorite description of him is, "...and his dark blond hair looked like it had been cut at home."

What physical attribute does your character have that speaks volumes about who they are and/or where they come from?

Technical Difficulties

Monday Moments will be coming later today.

Stay tuned...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday Moment #14

Life has been wildly complicated this past couple of weeks. Very little normalcy, very little schedule, very little of knowing what to expect. So much so, that it's kept me from the doing some of the things I love, the things that bring me calm, the things that are my passion. Mainly my writing (blogging included). I have one blog post that was started then interrupted by an important phone call and I have yet to return to, even though I have wanted to.

Like all of us, our characters have passions. Passions that, when life gets difficult and keeps them from doing what they desire, they yearn for and might even struggle to find a way.

How does your main character struggle or fight to make sure they spend time with their passion? And if there is no struggle, should there be?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


I’m just getting back to my writing. It’s been too long. I have much, much to do. Including a big, Big, BIG revision. *Deep Breath*

And, on my first day back, here's what I’m ready to admit...

I screamed at my main character today? I did. I’m pretty sure.

I wanted her to tell me what happened. I was asking her on the blank page—the most appropriate place to ask. Politely at first, until finally I typed, “TELL ME!”

Would you consider that yelling?

I have yet to know if it worked because I ran here to out myself. I guess I feel bad.

I’ll let you know. She has one hour to answer.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Monday Moment #13

First, let me thank all of you who left comments and who contacted me privately. Your thoughts have been much appreciated at this very difficult time.


Now, I'm not really superstitious, but I can't help but think, Wouldn't you know this would be my Monday Moment #13, on a day it feels a little difficult to be back to posting.

We've spent the past several days surrounded by family, and while there has been much sadness, there has also been many, many stories shared. Some touching. Some sad. Some funny. Actually, many funny.

It made me think about the importance of personal stories told to another (or others) for a specific reason. There is always a reason! I've recently been thinking about a whole scene I took out (in a former revision) of the novel I'm currently revising. I need to put it back in! It may need to be tweaked some, but it needs to be there. Because more important than the specifics of the story (although those are important, too), is the reason this "boy" shares it with my main character.

What story does your main character share with another (or vice-versa) and what is the reason for sharing it?