Tag Archives: Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers

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

Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers, 2017, and a Chance to Win a Googillion Dollars!

Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers is just around the corner. I can’t believe it. And we already have dates, and faculty, for next year. What? I know!

So

What would YOU do with a googillion dollars?

I would get allergy medicine that didn’t cause Alzheimer’s or dementia and the pills would really work.

#44

What is your main character’s secret desire? How does this work with the story and the major dramatic question?

Look closer. What is the real secret desire? Does everything in the novel point to this want? Will your character be better or worse if he achieves his goal?

How will you change after writing this book?

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Filed under Character, CLW, Exercises, giveaways, Plot, writing process

A Crime of Passion?

How are you coming with the writing prompts? Are you giving yourself thirty minutes a day to work on these different ideas? I’ve decided, when Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers (www.wifyr.com) is over this year, I’m gonna go back through all these and do each one.

One per day.

Perhaps I will post some of my results. There seems to be serious interest in this blog and I want to keep this going. (Imagine a gif with people laughing their heads off, literally.)

I keep bugging my friend, Trent Reedy, to write a book with me.

He is a boy.

I am girl.

We would have different points of views. This is good in writing.

But I can tell my friend isn’t interested in the ideas I come up with.

He’s very kind about it but he has no passion for my ideas.

Not too long ago Ann Dee and I brainstormed the next book we want to write together. We have this terrific start that’s a little scary because we’re only sorta sure where it will go. SO we wanted to think of something else.

 

As we went back and forth, the ideas I felt excited about, she was sorta like, “Uuuuummmmm.”

And then when she came up with a new idea, I was like, “Eeeeerrrrr.”

We didn’t share a passion. And without that–Trent Reedy and I or Ann Dee and I–can’t get a good book on the page.

You must care about your work.

# 38

Do you care about your novel?

Why?

Why not?

Is it worth the hours, the sweat, the worry, the writing and rewriting you must do?

Why?

Why not?

Is this book worth sticking though the tough parts?

Why?

Why not?

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Filed under Ann Dee, CLW, Exercises, Life, Plot, writing process

Three Thing Thursday

 

1. It’s our second annual WIFYR Kick-off! Our speaker this year? None other than the amazing J. Scott Savage. Scott is the award-winning author of more than 14 books and he’s gonna get us pumped up to face this new year writing.
Listening to Scott, doing writing exercises, a few drawings, and mingling with other writers. What’s better than that?
Who? You and your writing buddies are invited but space is limited, so make sure you register to get your ticket. Ages 16 and up.
When? January 20, 7:00 – 8:30 pm.
Where? The Provo City Library at Academy Square (550 N University Avenue, Provo, UT).
Cost? A potluck item and, if you’d like, a new or gently-used book for a needy library. How? To reserve your spot, click   http://www.wifyr.com/events/
2.WIFYR is pleased to host its second event of day-long writing workshops, this time with literary agent, Erin Harris, from Folio Jr, Feb 22-25. More info to come.
3. School starts again next week. Your main character is scared to go back. Why? Who or what is waiting for him? What will happen? How will your character get out of this mess?

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A Gift to You

Every semester at the beginning of my creative writing classes, or every June for Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers, I meet people who don’t have time to write.

I get it.

There are lots of things I don’t have time for–cleaning out the fridge, going grocery shopping, arguing with people I don’t like.

But the stuff I really care about–my religion, my kids, my friends and my writing? I make time for that.

For some reason we writers feel like our writing just isn’t as important as someone else’s full time job. Perhaps this is, in part, the  way our society views what we do.

“Oh, you’re a writer? That means you’re home all day? Can you help me with ABC.” And they AREN’T asking about the alphabet.

(Stay at home Moms–you’ve probably been asked to do tons for others because you are at home and that means, you know, that you have more time because you aren’t as busy.)

“Will you read my novel?”

“Will you edit my novel?”

“Will you watch my kids as I go tan?”

Over the years I’ve met lots of people who want to publish.

Some never will  because they are waiting for Time to fall in their laps instead of taking Time.

Some always allow what they consider more important to get in way of their writing.

Some are afraid.

If you have learned anything from this blog where we all complain, it’s that writing is HARD.

But, it’s also worth it.

At the end of each semester I say to my students, “You have permission to give yourself the gift of writing. An hour each day. Thirty minutes. Whatever you chose. Writing to you is as important as the car mechanic going to the shop to work or the doctor to the her office. Allow yourself to think your writing time is sacred. Is your own. Is a gift to you, from you.”

So what will YOU do to make time to reach your writing goals?

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One Week to WIFYR!

It’s so weird how time flies. Just two days ago I had six months till the conference started.

And now this!

With these last minutes for preparation, I find myself running around like a crazy person.

Okay, a crazier person.

Still, I need to do one thing for me: my writing.

My goal this week is write an hour each day. I have two books to work on–the one with Ann Dee and a mid-grade that my agent thinks needs to be older. Both need rewriting.

I’m  going to get up earlier each day, go to bed earlier each night and practice the last day of the conference song. Yup! I’ve chosen one.

And it’s an octave too high for me.

This is gonna be good!

 

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Three Things Thursday

Cheryl:

It’s been a long time since I have  attempted any writing exercises, so this past week I tried writing a “six word story.” Here are a few of my attempts:
“Sorry, no discount on child-sized coffins.”
Home from fighting, not from war.
Like a turtle, she sheltered herself.
They’re harder than you might imagine. I’ve found that the most difficult thing is that each can be interpreted in so many different ways. I feel I’m not effectively translating the story in my head to that of you, the reader. And after all, that transfer is what good writing is all about, right?
Try it! Post your results in the comments, I’d love to see what others came up with.

 

 

 

Brenda:

Trying to think of an idea for today’s blog, I looked at the oldest item in my “To Read” file — mostly old copies of Writers Digest Online saved for later inspiration. My oldest (which SHOULD have been a journal entry) included a note from Staci, real estate agent and friend, trying to sell my condo so I could move back to SLC. The memories it brought back made me laugh — besides, now it’s June!
Dec 12, 2009
Staci: I would like to show your home please at 10 am Tuesday . . . Let me know if this is ok. . . . Thanks!
Brenda: Tuesday would be fine EXCEPT. . . (then I listed details like):
. . . in my 4th day of frozen pipes — absolutely NO water
. . . unable to do laundry
. . . dishes (hidden in dishwasher — mostly eating out)
. . . run to the club house to use the bathroom
. . . signed up for a seven-day trial at a fitness place so I can take a shower
. . . cleaning lady scheduled Monday
. . . if water’s still frozen, I’ll tell her to wait
. . . guy from (condo) Management came tonight (thanks to neighbor)
. . . put a space heater up in garage ceiling where pipes are
. . . last time, I think it took a couple days to thaw out after space heater installed
. . . later, they added more insulation
. . . extreme cold this week: it evidently isn’t enough
. . . call me late tomorrow — I’ll possibly know more
. . . this would NOT be a good “selling point”
You MUST have similar “nightmare” memories? What are they? How could you put them into your novel? How would your characters react? Will it be an angst-ridden scene in your book, or will it be comic? Any one? AnnDee?

 

Me:

Change is afoot at Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers (www.wifyr.com). An announcement about Things To Come will occur on the last day of the conference. I’m overwhelmed. No, wait! I’m excited about what we’ll soon be offering with this conference to help people be better writers. And get published!

Shhh! Don’t say you heard it here! I’m letting the cat out of the bag a little early.

🙂

 

PS Yahoo for cliches!

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