Category Archives: Editors

Rocking a New Year

2019, the year to publish!

It was a crazy hard year and I see that expressed because I haven’t posted since August. The blog is sort of limping along. Actually, it’s dead. But I hope to pump new life into it.

I love a New Year but this one has dawned darker than I expected and with left-over 2018 heartbreak. Still, it’s here and I must embrace it. So let’s think UPCOMING EVENTS and QUESTIONS to start off the Year and head toward publication.

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself AND then ask your characters:

What do you hope happens this year?

How will you make those hopes happen?

What matters most to you?

How will you keep that most important thing safe?

Care to share your goals?

Remember, Rick Walton said, “Make goals you can control.”

I think of Rick a lot and even talk to him. I’m sure he’s still making achievable goals on The Other Side and I know he’s loving others without question.

MY BIG GOAL: I’m going to walk through the creation of a new novel, here, with you all.

EVENTS

  1. WIFYR / SCBWI January Kickoff–Jan 11, 2019. Bullock Room, Provo Library. 6:30-8:30. Potluck! And new or gently Used books for The Ella Hughes Foundation. https://goo.gl/forms/NgPm8PuwnAZrfk1P2
  2. March 6 and 7 or 8 or 9 AGENT/EDITOR Retreat. Emily Feinberg from Roaring Brook  and Karyn Fischer from Book Stop Literary are visiting UT and you can sign up to have you manuscript reviewed with one of them. https://goo.gl/forms/0TJhBpSbu6MgWlpz2
  3. June 10-14, 2019  It’s the 20th year for Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers! Registration opened today and I know at least one class has only one spot left. (www.wifyr.com) So come on down! We still have room for you and fabulous, amazing faculty.

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Filed under Agents, Editors, Life

Conflict? Say What?

So I did something I never do. I spoke to an editor at Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers. Kelsy Thompson is an editor for Jolly Fish and Flux. Both houses were recently acquired by North Star Editions (https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-industry-news/article/72423-north-star-editions-shining-a-light-on-ya-and-mg-fiction.html).

I was scared as it was as I walked in to talk to her. And Kelsey is super kind. Still I didn’t have my printed pages (broke rule number one–be prepared) and as I rambled at her (broke rule number two–be able to sell your work in 25 words or less),  I realized I had no idea what my newest novel was about (broke rule number three–know what you’re story is about in the first place).

After stammering at her for awhile, Kelsy said, “This book idea sounds so cute, Carol. But what’s the conflict?”

Conflict?

I looked at her for about 18 years. Then I jumped up and ran out of the room. I scared three people who were in line to see this terrific editor. This is not my fault.

So what is conflict?  We know our characters have goals–things they want. Our job as writers is to keep our characters from getting what they want. That series of events of hindering and stopping our characters from achieving their goals is where the conflict is.

Here’s some math to make things more confusing:  cute girl character + what she wants, what she really, really wants + stumbling blocks you throw in the way to torture your character = conflict.

I can do that. Can I do that?

Let’s meet here tomorrow and see.

 

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Filed under Agents, Editors, Plot, writing process

Cover and Contest!

My newest novel, NEVER THAT FAR, is published and released TODAY by Shadow Mountain.  a huge thank you to Jennifer De Chiara and Steve Fraser who represented me for this deal. And a big thank you to the amazing Lisa Mangum, my editor at Shadow Mountain.

A normal person could post a pic. I cannot. But, dagnabit, I will by end of today. So until then, imagine a pretty cover

 

 

HERE

 

 

Now! Here’s the contest! If you go to FB, you can add your goals under this post there.

I’m getting ready for a sing off! And I’m challenging Trent Reedy. And Claudia Mills, too! Yes! Where? At WIFYR this June!

We’re getting the ball rolling a little early with Getting Ready for WIFYR Writing Contest where you might win a book or two. My newest novel NEVER THAT FAR is one of the prizes. So is Trent Reedy’s book DIVIDED WE FALL.

Here’s how it works:

Say what your writing goal is for April AND May (I’ll reveal my goals tomorrow). And the most amazing Stephanie Moore will keep track of things for us.

You get to put your name in our virtual drawing if you sign up to play, if you complete your writing weekly goals, meet your goal, and every check-in on our Friday FB post. Invite all your friends! Got friends on Twitter? Instagram? Invite them, too!

The writing goals can be whatever you want them to be: 50 words a day, 5000 words a day or anything in between. They can be editing goals, if you like. Anything to help you get ready for our week-long writing conference this June.

The winner will be randomly drawn and notified on June 1, 2018.
Then we’ll pop the prize in the mail (US residents only), signed to you.
Woot woot!

But that’s not all.

Trent and I will have a sing off at WIFYR. Or we’ll sing a duet. Or something.
And Claudia Mills? That will be a flannel shirt wear-off contest .

Oh my gosh, this just keeps on giving.

So join us for our Getting Ready for WIFYR Writing Contest.

(You DO NOT have to attend WIFYR to play. But if you want to register, go here: http://www.wifyr.com. There are a few spaces open, but many of the classes are almost closed.)

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Filed under Agents, Editors

Sexy Sense of Place

“The author must know his countryside, whether real or imaginary, like the back of his hand.” Robert Louis Stevenson

When my first editor, the amazing Mary Cash, bought my first book KELLY AND ME, one of the things she said was, “We need more sense of place.”

“How do I do that?” I asked.

“Read,” she said.

And so I did. I found lots of books that painted worlds for me. But the authors I learned the most from for that writing exercise were Bill and Vera Cleaver. They wrote WHERE THE LILIES BLOOM (Newbery winner). All their books (yes, I read them all) were so beautifully detailed that I fell in love. I’m STILL in love with their writing.

A Few Facts about Sense of Place

  1. If well done, setting can become a character (what one reviewer said about KELLY AND ME).
  2. Not just fantasy novels need world building–ALL books do.
  3. If you feel like the book you’re reading is a desert (when it’s not!), that’s because the author has failed in making the world real and visible. The author is your eye.
  4. When your main character talks about place, remember he will speak only about what he notices. YOU have to make him notice what allows the reader to believe they are there.
  5. Use all five sense when you write. At this moment I can hear the baby and, across the street, a lawn edger going. I can feel the cool air blowing in around my feet from the open window. Outside my window there are two trees, one with leaves the color of an almost-ripe lemon. The smells coming from the bathroom? Let’s just say the wintergreen smelly thing ain’t helping a lot. And then, of course, there are the keys under my fingers. All of this is part of my sense of place–of the world I am in right now.
  6. Don’t use all sense at once, like I did above. After you build a place, it’s your job to remind the reader where they are. And I don’t think it’s a bad idea to do that two or three times a page.
  7. The amazing Tim Wynne-Jones gave a great talk when I was at school at VC, about the emotion sense of place can give a book–how it can forecast doom or help readers feel joy. There’s a name for this, and try as I might, I can’t remember what it is. When I do, I’ll add it.

 

#32 Rewrite your book opening using sense of place.

#32.5 Do what Mary Cask said: Read for setting. How does the writer do it successfully?

 

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Filed under Editors, Exercises, Setting, Voice, writing process